This injury is caused by trauma from:
- A fall onto the shoulder
- Falling on an outstretched arm
- A motor vehicle accident
Babies can also get this injury from passing through the birth canal.
Symptoms may be:
- Pain and swelling
- Problems moving the arm
- A change in the way the shoulder looks
- A lump on the shoulder
It may take 3 to 10 weeks to heal. Newborns and most children do not usually need to have the pieces of the bone put back in position unless the broken ends are very far apart.
The goals of treatment are to manage pain and support the bone as it heals. This may include:
- Medicine to ease pain
- A sling or brace to keep the shoulder in place as it heals
- Exercises to help with strength and range of motion
Children's bones have growth plates that let bones grow and harden with age. A child with a fracture may need to be checked over time to make sure the bone heals the right way and keeps growing.
Some people may need surgery. Pins, a plate, or screws may be used to hold the bones in place as they heal.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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