Sprained collar bone


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

Lesion types

  • TYPE 1 > Reduced movement, isolated oedema of soft tissue. Localised pain.
  • TYPE 2 > Piano key, tip of the clavicle displaced up and back. If a reduction is carried out, it is a simple elongation, if not, the conoid and trapezoid ligaments are torn.
  • TYPE 3 > Locoregional pain, marked piano key, diastasis visible on x-ray.
  • TYPE 4 > Functional disability, significant movement of the end of the clavicle that overlaps without reducing on abduction. Small associated fragment. Large dislocation with bruising.

Types 1 and 2 are the most frequent, treated with ice and relative immobilisation, whereas the other types, more serious but also rarer, can lead to surgery

How it happens: how can you sprain your collar bone?

Falling with an arm straight, a shock to the front of the shoulder, shoulder to shoulder contact in team sports..

You must not confuse a collar bone fracture and an acrimioclavicular sprain or indeed a dislocated shoulder.

Clinical signs

Pain in the deltoid area or collar bone.

 Localised swelling on the clavicle

 Functional disability (impossible to move the arm)

How to diagnose?

With an x-ray of the shoulder and clavicle

 In some cases, the physician may use ultrasound, a scanner or MRI


Different depending on the lesion type

From type 1, with arm in sling, for 8 to 15 days of rest. Application of cold and medication with paracetamol if there is pain for a type 4 sprain, with surgery and no sports for four months and long physiotherapy.           

Emergency action after the accident

Use ice, immobilise the arm in a sling and go to A&E

Did you know. Do not confuse sprain and painful arthropathy like arthritis

The acromioclavicular joint is very mobile and can suffer to many shoulder to shoulder shocks in the goal area. Arthropathy or acromioclavicular technopathy is a degenerative disease affecting footballers, causing chronic pain.

Preventative treatment, avoiding contact and placing a preventative tape, cold therapy, deep massages and anti-inflammatory gels. If preventative treatment is not successful, mesotherapy, shock waves, infiltrations, PRP type techniques, then surgery are offered.


Acromioclavicular sprains are fairly frequent but are not always very serious, however, a good initial diagnosis will reduce complications

Docteur Patrick Bacquaert

Médecin chef de l'IRBMS

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