The clavicle, or your collarbone, is the bone that extends from the top of your sternum to your shoulder blade. Most collarbone fractures occur from falls, sports injuries, or car accidents. If you think you have a broken collarbone, you should see a doctor. If you wait with it, it is less likely to heal properly.
Method 1 of 3: Consult a doctor
Step 1. Recognize the symptoms of a broken collarbone
It hurts and has a distinctive set of symptoms. People with clavicle fractures often have:
- Pain that gets worse when the shoulder is moved
- Pain when touching the collarbone
- Blue discoloration
- A bump on or next to the shoulder
- A grinding sound or feeling when the shoulder is moved
- Difficulty moving the shoulder
- Tingling or numbness in the arm or fingers
- A drooping shoulder
Step 2. See the doctor so that the bone can be properly set up
This is important so that it can heal as quickly as possible and in the right position. Bones that don't heal in the correct position often heal with strange looking bumps.
- Your doctor will take an x-ray and maybe even a CT scan to find out exactly where the fracture is.
- The doctor puts your arm in a sling. It does this because your collarbone also moves when you move your shoulder. It may also reduce pain by taking some weight off the broken collarbone.
- Children must wear the sling for one to two months. Adults must wear them for two to four months.
- The doctor may have you wear a figure-of-eight bandage to keep your arm and collarbone in the correct position.
Step 3. If the broken ends of the bone fail to join, get an operation
In this case, you may need to have surgery to hold the parts in the correct position while they heal. While surgery is uncomfortable, it ensures that the break will heal without leaving any permanent marks or bumps.
The doctor could use plates, screws, or pins to stabilize the bone
Method 2 of 3: Dealing with the pain while recovering
Step 1. Reduce pain and swelling with ice
The cold reduces the speed of the swelling. It also helps to numb the shoulder a little.
- Use an ice pack or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel. Don't put the ice directly on your skin as it could damage your skin.
- Ice the fracture for 20 minutes every hour for the first day.
- Apply the ice every three to four hours for the next few days.
Step 2. Take a rest
If you keep still, your body will be able to put more energy into healing. Resting also reduces the chances of you hurting yourself more.
- Don't move your arm when it hurts. Your body is telling you that it's too early for that.
- You may need more sleep as you heal. Make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
- Being rested will also put you in a better mood and help you cope with the pain.
Step 3. Get relief from over-the-counter pain relievers
These drugs also reduce inflammation. However, wait 24 hours after the injury before using these medications because they could increase bleeding or decrease bone healing. If you wait 24 hours, your body will start healing on its own.
- Try ibuprofen
- Take naproxen
- Follow the directions on the package insert and those of your doctor. Do not take any more.
- Do not give drugs that contain aspirin to children under the age of 19.
- Consult your doctor if you have or have recently had heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney problems, stomach ulcers, or internal bleeding.
- Do not mix these drugs with alcohol or any other medication, including over-the-counter drugs, herbal medicines, or supplements.
- Talk to your doctor if your pain is still unbearable. Your doctor can write you a prescription for something stronger.
Method 3 of 3: Promote rapid healing
Step 1. Eat a high-calcium diet
Calcium is essential for your body to build bones. The following foods are good sources of calcium:
- Cheese, milk, yogurt and other dairy products.
- Broccoli, kale, and other dark green leafy vegetables.
- Fish with bones soft enough to eat, such as sardines or canned salmon.
- Foods with added calcium. Examples include soy, cereals, fruit juice and milk substitutes.
Step 2. Get enough vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for humans to absorb calcium. You can get vitamin D from:
- Time you spend in the sun. Your body produces vitamin D when sunlight hits your skin.
- Eggs, meat, salmon, mackerel and sardines.
- Foods with added vitamin D, such as cereals, soy products, dairy products and milk powder.
Step 3. Help your body heal through physical therapy
This will help reduce stiffness while wearing the sling. After the sling is off, it will help you strengthen your muscles and regain your flexibility.
- The physical therapist will give you exercises designed for your level of strength and healing. Make sure to do them as directed.
- Build up slowly. Stop when it hurts. Don't do too much too soon.
Step 4. Relieve stiffness with heat
Once the injury has stopped swelling, you can apply heat. It feels good and increases blood flow. Both warmth and dry heat should help.
- If you have pain after physical therapy, this may help.
- Put a warm compress on top for about 15 minutes. Don't put it directly on your skin. Wrap him in a towel to avoid getting burned.
Step 5. Ask your doctor if you are strong enough for other pain reduction methods
Don't do these activities until your doctor says you are ready for them. Options include: