Bone fracture can happen to any bone in the body and the collar bone or clavicle is not an exception to this. Kids and adults alike can fall victim to this kind of bone fracture. Sporting a broken collar bone will limit much of your movements. You will not get to work well and to carry on with your normal day as you used to be. If you want to shorten your collar bone heal time, you have to immobilize the fractured area in order for the broken bone fragments to repair themselves.
There are certain tips that you can get as to how you can recognize a broken collar bone in case you or your kids may have one.
How to Recognize a Broken Collar Bone
• Feel yourself for any pain. Normally, any broken bone would cause you pain due to muscle spasms or irritated nerve endings of pain fibers in the bones. A broken collar bone would be signified by persistent but not too extreme pain.
• If you hear something pop when you first had your injury, this could be the breaking of your collar bone. This is the usual case with collar bone injuries.
• Observe the manner by which you position or carry your hand. When your other arm can still support the other uninjured arm and you can still move your joints quite freely, this can also be another indicator that you have sustained a collar bone break.
• Touch your collar bone or clavicle. Feel your way in the area and sense where that spot is that is most painful when passed by your hand. That is the likely spot where the break happened. Moreover, you will also hear a crunching sound when you come in contact with the broken spot.
• If you slump with your arms forward, this can also be an indicator that you have really broken your clavicle. Gravity will pull your arms forward and you will likely respond by slumping when you have a crack in your collar bone.
• The skin around your collar bone will likely bruise and turn the shade of purple.
If your doctor has already confirmed that you do have a collar bone fracture, you should find ways by which collar bone healing would proceed.
Steps in Choosing Collar Bone Treatment
1. X-ray. Take a careful look at the x-ray of your collar bone. If you cannot get a copy of it, you should just get a picture of it through your phone or your camera.
2. Identify the type of fracture that you have. This is why you need to do the first step. These are the kinds of fractures that you may have.
• Hairline fracture. There is only a minor crack but the bone is still together.
• Simple bone fracture. The fractured collar bone is already broken into two pieces only.
• Multiple fractures. The bone is broken into more than just two fragments.
• Compound fracture. Some of the fragments have pierced through your skin. Thus, you should look for cuts or punctures on the skin.
3. Sling. This is ideal for those with only hairline fractures, good for simple fractures but has poor results when used for multiple fractures. A word of caution – never use sling for the process of compound fracture collar bone heal as this will only expose the bones to infection. For compound fracture, go directly to step 7.
4. Figure-of-eight brace. This can assist the sling in cases such as the following:
• Your injury just happened a week ago or much later.
• Your job or other daily chores require you to move the shoulder on the side of the collar bone breakage.
• You cannot afford surgery due to financial constraints.
This brace still works in pushing your broken bones into a well-aligned position. Just bear with the discomfort that it brings.
5. Six-week treatment. Once you have decided to use either sling or the brace, you should bear with any of them for six weeks straight. Moreover, avoid moving your arms and elbows that will cause you pain. If you will stay impatient with the entire healing process, you will only suffer from incomplete bone healing plus chronic pain.
6. Follow-up consultation. Visit your doctor for another look at your bones through x-rays. If the bones are already well-aligned, you are healed and you can proceed to step 9 for rehab. However, you should continue doing the next step if your bones are still overlapping or if they have poor healing only.
7. Fractured Collar bone Surgery. This can be immediately considered for compound fracture. You should choose between two types.
• Plate screwed to the bone but this will create a visible scar
• Pin inserted into the bone in a lengthwise manner which will not leave much of a scar.
8. Post-operation. Keep the sling after surgery and try not to disturb your healing collar bone. After twelve weeks, you are expected to heal completely.
9. Rehab. Find a basic rehab routine that will let you gain your strength back and let you do your usual movements involving your collar bone.