Clavicle Fracture



A clavicle fracture 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.

Risk Factors

Things that can raise the risk of a clavicle fracture are:

  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Playing contact sports
  • Having a health problem that may result in falls, such as nerve problems

Large babies are at greater risk during birth.



Symptoms may be:

  • Pain and swelling
  • Problems moving the arm
  • A change in the way the shoulder looks
  • A lump on the shoulder


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. Questions will also be asked about how the injury happened. An exam will be done that will focus on the shoulder.

Pictures will be taken of the area. This can be done with:

  • An X-ray
  • A CT scan



It can take 3 to 10 weeks to heal. The goal of treatment is to help the bones heal properly to prevent long term problems.

Putting Bones Back in Place

Some fractures may cause pieces of bone to come apart. The pieces of bone will need to be put back into place so it will heal properly. The doctor may do this through surgery to reconnect bone sections with pins, a plate, or screws. These devices will also hold the bone in place as it heals.

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.


Support for all fractures can include:

  • Medicine to ease pain and swelling
  • A sling to support the bone as it heals
  • Exercises to help with strength, flexibility, and range of motion

Some fractures can damage the growth plate in children. Follow up tests will be done to make sure the bone is growing as it should.


Most fractures are due to accidents. They cannot be prevented.

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.