Collar bone fracture

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It is not uncommon when cycling to be involved in a group collision or fall off your bike yourself. The consequences of a "fall" when you land on shoulders or the thorax, often results in a collar bone fracture.

Emergency medical diagnosis

A fracture following, generally speaking, a minor fall, of the middle third of the collar bone, where this bone is at its most fragile.

Sports persons are seen with the arm pressed against the body; the shoulder is lowered, there is bruising and oedema along the collar bone.

There is a painful deformity under the skin, which justifies an x-ray which often

  • demonstrates an oblique fracture section, the internal fragment moves upwards whilst the external fragment moves downwards.
  • Or a multiple fracture with a further independent fragment.

What to do in an emergency

  • The most commonly used medical treatment involves placing cotton-jersey rings, held in place at the back by a physical or elastic connection and leaving the rings for 3 to 6 weeks..

The aim is to keep the shoulder back, and to shift the fragment external to the collar bone in line with the internal fracture. This treatment is often unsuccessful as the ring is too tight and restricts the neurovascular bundle in the armpit.

  • Surgical treatment

Osteosynthesis and repair via attachment dependent on the surgeon's practice and also based upon the sports persons level of fitness, the type of fracture and the unaesthetic bone callus

Additionally, once the bone plate has been removed, the collar bone is once again fragile for a few months.

Only the surgeon can propose this intervention.

Conclusion

Collar bone fractures are common amongst sports persons participating in combat sports or in the case of a fall, regardless of age

Medical treatment is often provided and sometimes, surgical treatment is required amongst professional sports persons or high level sports persons with types of fractures which may not heal for at least four to six weeks.

Docteur Patrick Bacquaert

Médecin chef de l'IRBMS

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    Advice

    Collar bone sprain is a frequent traumatic injury of the shoulder following a forwards or side shock to the shoulder.
    The sprain causes a sharp pain with visible swelling over the collar bone
    Depending on the intensity of the shock and the severity of the sprain, lesion stages are defined

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