Fractured Clavicle | Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand | Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty

Fractured Clavicle (Collar Bone)

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What has happened?

  • You have broken your collar bone - this is a common injury

What should I expect?

  • You will need to wear a sling for your arm - this should keep your arm at a right angle
  • You will be in a sling for approximately 6 weeks
  • You should expect to experience some pain for 4-6 weeks, or longer in some cases 

What should I do?

  • Take simple pain relief (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) as needed, and in the first few days you can ice the injury to help lessen the pain and swelling
  • It may be more comfortable to sleep propped up on pillows for a few nights, as this prevents you from rolling onto the injured side
  • As soon as you are comfortable, start performing elbow movements by taking your arm out of the sling and fully bending and straigtening the elbow several times. Also keeping your elbow still, flip your hand between your palm facing upwards and downwards several times. This will help prevent stiffness in your joints. Do this 4-5 times per day.
  • You should begin to move your arm and shoulder as soon as you feel able to  - this may take a couple of weeks. Start by leaning forward with the arm hanging downwards and rotating it in small circular movements. Do this 4-5 times per day.
  • You can return to 'gentle' sport (e.g. swimming) as soon as you are comfortable
  • You may wish to book in to see a physiotherapist to help you with rehabilitation from this injury once you are no longer in a sling - remember to take your ACC form/number with you

What should I not do?

  • Generally you should avoid 'non-contact' sports for 6 weeks, and 'contact' sports (e.g. football, rugby, hockey) for 8 weeks

Will I be followed up?

  • Yes, a follow-up appointment in the Orthopaedic Clinic will be requested when you leave the Emergency Department (ED) and you will be contacted regarding a date and time
  • Generally you will be followed up 6 weeks after your injury

What if I have concerns/questions?

  • If your injury is not settling or you have other concerns, you should see your GP - Remember to take your ACC form/number with you.
  • Please see your GP if:
    • Pain levels are increasing
    • You experience persistent tingling or altered sensation in the arm or hand