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What is a broken collarbone? Diagnostics and Treatment at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston

A broken collarbone occurs when the clavicle – the bone that connects the arm to the body – becomes fractured. Any part of the bone can break, including the spot where the clavicle attaches to the ribcage or the shoulder blade, although most fractures occur in the middle of the bone.

These fractures typically occur when a person falls onto an outstretched arm, although sudden collisions can cause them as well. There can be just one small crack, or the bone can shatter into several pieces. The severity of the injury can determine how it is treated.

Can a broken collarbone heal without surgery?

If the broken pieces of the bone are still properly aligned, the fracture may be able to heal without surgery. Conservative therapies that can be used to support the healing process include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Prescription pain relievers
  • A splint and/or a sling
  • Physical therapy

Most simple fractures heal within four to eight weeks. During this time, it’s important to avoid any activities that might interfere with the process, such as weightlifting or contact sports.

Surgery for a broken collarbone

If the bone shatters or pierces the skin when it breaks, surgery may be needed to repair the damage. A shoulder surgeon can use plates and screws to secure the broken pieces back in place, permitting it to properly heal. Some of the conservative therapies mentioned above – e.g., medication and physical therapy – may be prescribed after surgery as well.

At Advanced Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, we can diagnose and treat your broken collarbone in any of our three locations throughout Houston, Texas. We offer a full range of treatments – both surgical and nonsurgical – and can provide you with a personalized rehabilitation plan as well. Throughout your treatment, you’ll work with a team of upper extremity injury specialists who hold active board certifications and have decades of collective experience in the field. To schedule an appointment with our shoulder injury specialists, contact us today.