Clavicle Fracture aka Broken Collarbone

Broken Collarbone Physiotherapy Toronto

Clavicle Fracture aka Broken Collarbone

Broken Collarbone Physiotherapy Toronto

Clavicle Fracture aka Broken Collarbone

The clavicle, also known as the collarbone, is the bone at the front of your shoulder that connects your arm to your body. It helps to stabilize the shoulder and arm as they move and helps to protect nearby nerves and blood vessels. A clavicle fracture is the medical term for a broken collarbone. The clavicle is the most commonly broken bone in the human body.  Clavicle fractures comprise one-third of all shoulder injuries and are most commonly seen in young men as a result of sport related injuries.

Types of clavicle fractures

Depending on which point of the bone is broken, clavicle fractures are classified into three categories:

  • Midshaft fractures: about 80% of all fractures, typically in youngsters
  • Lateral-end fractures: about 20% of all fractures
  • Medial-end fractures: about 5% and are usually caused by direct

Fractures are also classified as:

  • Nondisplaced: the ligaments remain attached
  • Displaced: the two parts of the fractured clavicle do not line up
  • Comminuted: multiple small pieces of bone are found at the fracture site.

The most common method to check for a clavicle fracture is by using X-Ray images. If a fracture is present they also help determine the type and severity of the fracture.

Causes of a clavicle fracture

  • A direct blow to the clavicle: sports injuries (during tackling in football, or being cross-checked during hockey), car accidents
  • A fall onto the shoulder or on an outstretched arm
  • Genetically weak bones, or aging illnesses such as osteoporosis or cancer, most common in women

Symptoms of a clavicle fractureFractured Clavicle Physiotherapist Toronto

The signs and symptoms of a fractured clavicle include:

  • A pop or click sound when the clavicle breaks
  • Sharp pain at the front part of the upper chest that may radiate into the arm
  • Pain that increases with movements of the upper limb
  • Sagging shoulder
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • A bump over the injured area
  • Tenderness around the collarbone
  • Inability to lift the arm
  • Grinding sensation with movement
  • Possible nausea and dizziness due to extreme pain
  • Numbness or pins and needles sensations if nerves in the arm are injured

Treatment of a broken collarbone

Most cases of clavicle fractures can be treated by non-surgical procedures. A combination of the following treatments are used:


  • Medications: such as NSAIDs and acetaminophen, to relieve the pain
  • Surgery: in severe cases where instability is present and internal stabilization is necessary, using plates, pins, and screws


If the broken ends of the clavicle are lined up correctly, surgery if often not necessary, and instead a good Physiotherapy rehabilitation program can be commenced.  The following Physiotherapy treatments are commonly used used:

  • Icing
  • Arm support: using a sling or figure-8 brace to immobilize the fracture for approximately 3-4 weeks
  • Protective and postural taping
  • Electrotherapy (e.g. IFC / electrical stim)
  • Ultrasound
  • Laser Therapy
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Gentle shoulder and arm exercises to prevent stiffness and weakness
  • Exercises to improve posture and flexibility
  • Gradual strengthening exercises once the fracture is completely healed
  • Joint mobilization
  • Return-to-activity training program

*Note: Most patients are able to return to basic daily activities after about 6-8 weeks of rehabilitation, and laborious jobs after about 10-14 weeks.

The Physiotherapists in downtown Toronto can help you rehab your clavicle fracture.
Call Ace Physio Clinic today at 416-900-6653 to book your appointment.

About the Author

Brad SaltzBrad is a Registered Physiotherapist at Ace Physio, a highly respected Physiotherapy clinic in downtown Toronto. Ace Physio provides high quality one on one Physiotherapy that combined state-of-art technology such as; Shockwave Therapy, Laser Therapy, and Spinal Decompression with traditional Physiotherapy.View all posts by Brad Saltz