Collarbone (clavicle) pain: 8 causes

Collarbone (clavicle) pain: 8 causes

The collarbone, also known as the clavicle, extends from the shoulder to the breastbone.

The collarbone is among the most likely to fracture. Blunt force applied to an outstretched arm or shoulder can easily injure or break this bone.

The following activities often lead to broken or fractured collarbones:

Collarbone breaks and fractures usually occur with shoulder injuries caused by accidents.

Pain around the collarbone will start suddenly and often grow worse as a person tries to move their shoulder. They may also feel a grinding sensation or hear a clicking noise.

Other symptoms of a broken or fractured collarbone include:

A caregiver or doctor may notice that a newborn is not moving one arm, possibly indicating a brake or fracture.

A broken collarbone is diagnosed following an X-ray and an examination, in which a doctor checks for bruising or swelling.

Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury.

If the bone has remained in place, despite the break or fracture, a person will likely only need to wear a sling for a few days and rest the arm. In some cases, a doctor will recommend a brace instead.

More severe breaks may require surgery, in which a surgeon will insert pins, a rod, or a plate to keep the bone and fragments in place during healing.

This occurs when the collarbone shifts from its normal position and applies pressure to the blood vessels and nerves located between the bone and the highest rib.

The following symptoms may indicate this syndrome:

Physical therapy is a common treatment. It will likely focus on strengthening the muscles around the collarbone. However, surgery may be required in more severe cases.

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is located where the collarbone meets the top of the shoulder blade.

Separation of the joint is a common injury, sometimes caused by blunt force or a fall.

Injuring the AC joint can lead to pain, but it does not always accompany a break of the collarbone.

Depending on the severity of the injury, a doctor may recommend:

Osteoarthritis happens when protective tissue at the end of a bone wears down.

This type of arthritis is often caused by normal wear and tear that accompanies ageing. In some cases it is brought on by injury.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the collarbone include:

Sleeping in certain positions can cause pain in the neck, back, or collarbone. Sleeping on the same side for long periods may be especially problematic.

This pain typically eases during the day. Some may treat it with over-the-counter medications, and prevent it by changing positions during the night. New pillows or mattresses can also help with this type of pain.

This is the term for small fractures developing on the end of the collarbone closest to the shoulder, known as the distal end. The condition is sometimes called weightlifter's shoulder.

If a person does not allow these fractures to heal, they will grow worse and lead to pain and swelling.

Treatment usually involves resting and avoiding activities that aggravate the symptoms. Other treatments may include:

Cancer is not a common cause of collarbone pain.

If cancer is causing the pain, it may have spread from another part of the body. For example, lymph nodes that have developed cancer tend to cause pain in neighboring areas, such as the collarbone.

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that often develops in bones and lymph nodes. It can affect young children as well as adults.

When cancer spreads to the collarbone, surgery or radiation are common treatments. Recommended methods will depend on how advanced the cancer is when treatment starts.

Osteomyelitis, a bone infection, is not very common.

The following symptoms may indicate osteomyelitis of the collarbone:

Below are common causes of osteomyelitis:

Usually, a person with osteomyelitis is hospitalized and receives intravenous antibiotics.

A doctor will likely need to drain pus from the site of the infection and stabilize the bone.

After being released, the person may continue to take antibiotics orally for several weeks or months.

Following an injury to the collarbone, contact emergency services. Upon examination, a doctor will make a diagnosis and recommend treatment. Failing to get appropriate care can delay healing or cause an injury to heal incorrectly.

See a doctor if shoulder pain is unexplained or accompanied by other symptoms.

Most people can expect a full recovery from a broken or fractured collarbone, especially if the injury is treated early.

Other causes of collarbone pain are less common and may not need medical attention.

Consult a doctor if the cause of collarbone pain is unclear.

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