What is a clavicle? The clavicle is a long bone and better known to most, as the collar bone. The clavicle is located between the scapula (shoulder blade) and the sternum (ribcage) and it plays a very important role in connecting the arm to the body and the scapula to the sternum. The collarbone fracture just happens to be the most common fracture among children and toddlers.
What is a Clavicle Fracture?
A clavicle break often occurs due to MVA, fall, or head on sports injuries, which often occur during football tackles. Of course, clavicle fracture in newborn is often caused by a difficult or breech birth delivery. Some conditions that may cause a fractured clavicle in newborn include:
- Larger newborns with a birth weight over 8 pounds
- Fragile newborns due to prematurity
- Inadequate size and shape of the pelvis or cephalopelvic disproportion
- Dystocia (difficult labor and childbirth)
- Breech births (abnormal birthing presentations)
- Extended or prolonged labor
Most fractures occur in the middle of the clavicle, but it is not uncommon to see a break at the union of the sternum and scapula.
- Keeps arms to the side (newborn)
- Limited movement (newborn)
- Sagging shoulder or arm (adults, children, and adolescents)
- Deformity over the break
Diagnosis of Clavicle Fracture in Newborn
- Physical examination
- Bump at the fractured clavicle site
- Computed Tomography
Infant Clavicle Fracture Treatment
There is normally no fracture clavicle treatment, because a firm bump will develop, in around 10 days post-delivery, as the fracture heals. The large bump will usually dissolve overtime, but a small one can still be felt over the healed clavicle. If the infant experiences pain a soft bandage is used to create a makeshift splint to limit the movement of the arm.
Physicians will not prescribe treatment for broken clavicle, in toddlers, adolescents, or adults, as well.
- Simple arm or shoulder sling
- Over the counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Advil, but this should not be administered, without the advice of a pediatrician.
- Physical therapy may be prescribed for adults to decrease pain and improve alignment.
Malunion is the most common complication, which is caused by the fracture bone fragments do not move out of place and the bones heals in less than an optimal position. It is wise to follow the physician’s collarbone fracture treatment and avoid strenuous exercise or activities, until the fracture completely heals, because it is possible for the bone to become dislocated, before it has the opportunity to completely heal.