What is a broken collarbone

We have two collarbones, comparative in composition to a rib which heals quickly in around ten days. 

If you break your collarbone, in most cases, there will be pain and you can expect to feel uncomfortable for 2-4 weeks. Swelling and tenderness at the collarbone area is a good indication of a break and it’s common to feel crunching as the broken ends shift. Purple bruising will appear after several days and may spread across the shoulder to the arm.

We have two collarbones positioned at the front of each shoulder. Our collarbones connect at the sternum (breast bone) and the shoulder blade via joints. They are important in stabilising the shoulder during movement and protecting blood vessels and underlying nerves.

Most people with this injury will not be able to lift their arm. It is important to keep the injured side elbow close-in to the body to avoid rotation at the fracture site. Any rotation can prolong healing leading to non-union [failure of the bone to join together], it may also result in the bone knitting together in a contorted fashion (malunion). The latter leading to muscle malfunction and future shoulder complications.

Pain can be excruciating. If you need to take pain medication avoid Ibuprofen as this inhibits new bone formation. Use paracetamol instead.