Collarbone (Clavicle) Injuries

Collarbone injuries are common to most any sport. The collarbone, or clavicle, is a curved bone that runs from the mid - chest to your shoulder connecting the shoulder blade and shoulder to the front of the chest wall. Because this bone lies close to the surface of the skin it is susceptible to fractures. Shoulder separations are common in football and hockey players. Generally it is the sternoclavicular joint or the acromioclavicular joint that separate from the ends of the clavicle (collarbone).

Causes of Injury:

  • Direct blows to shoulder - generally from the top of the shoulder
  • Indirect Injury - generally caused by breaking a fall with an outstretched hand or a blow to the outside of the shoulder


  • Acute pain to shoulder or upper chest all
  • Inability to lift arm over the head
  • Obvious bone deformity (at top of shoulder or along the bone)
  • Popping or clicking of separated bone with movement


  • Immobilize affected arm - shoulder with sling
  • Apply ice to shoulder (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off)
  • Seek Professional opinion for further evaluation to include X - rays
  • Immobilization of diagnosed injury with "clavicular strap" to aid in healing process
  • Rehabilitation - post injury diagnosis for strength and flexibility


  • Maintain good strength and conditioning program
  • Wear protective equipment - well fitted shoulder pads

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

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