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Adult clavicle fractures

Patient information A-Z

What is a clavicle fracture?

You have sustained a fracture of your collar bone (clavicle).The clavicle is a strut bone connecting part of your sternum (breast bone) to your scapula (shoulder blade) by tough bands of tissues (ligaments). It is one of the most common bones to injure and is usually caused by falling onto the arm or shoulder, especially from a bicycle.

X-ray showing and adult clavicle fracture
Clavicle fracture

Swelling and bruising at the fracture site is normal. Simple over the counter painkillers and applying ice to the area will help to reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied, wrapped in a tea towel, for 20 minutes three to four times a day. It may help to sleep more upright in a chair or with extra pillows, initially.

You should:

  • Start using your arm within the limits of your pain, particularly hand, wrist and elbow.
  • Wear your sling for comfort and discard at your own discretion.

You should not:

  • Drive or cycle whilst wearing the sling.
  • Take part in any physical contact sports for at least 12 weeks and possibly longer, as guided by your consultant.
  • Lift anything heavier than a cup of tea for six weeks.
  • Miss your appointment with the shoulder specialist.

At your appointment the clavicle may be X-rayed again in order to check the position of the fracture.

The shoulder specialist will then discuss further options for managing your injury at this appointment.

Please remember

Please contact your GP if your condition is not improving, or if your pain relief is not adequate.

If your condition is worsening please contact the Multi professional fracture clinic, call 01223 348299 or call 01223 257095.

For more information please visit the Fracture Info website (opens in a new tab).

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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151