What is the treatment for a clavicle fracture?
If a patient experiences a minor clavicle fracture that did not result in bony displacement, conservative therapies can be effective in resolving symptoms during the healing process. The affected arm will be placed in a sling to keep the clavicle in an acceptable position while healing. A combination of rest, ice, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) is recommended for pain and inflammation management. When the pain and inflammation subside, physical therapy is encouraged to restore strength to the shoulder girdle.
Athletic or high demand individuals may be best treated with surgery for clavicle fractures. Clavicle fracture surgery enable the surgeon to achieve anatomic positioning of the affected bone. Shortening of the clavicle after nonoperative treatment may result in anterior displacement of the scapula and chronic posterior shoulder pain. Other circumstances such as failed conservative therapy, a dislocated clavicle, excessive fragment displacement, or open fractures should also be considered for surgical intervention. The clavicle fracture repair (open reduction and internal fixation) procedure utilizes special plates and screws to realign and fix the bone fragments in their proper position.
This procedure is typically done on an outpatient basis using light sedation and regional anesthesia. Most patient will require a sling for approximately two weeks. Home based motion exercises are start immediately following surgery. Formal physical therapy starts approximately one week after surgery. Bony healing usually occurs 6-8 weeks after surgery. Most patients will require some physical therapy for 2-3 months following this procedure to achieve a full recovery.