A broken collarbone is a serious injury, as it can result in pain, discomfort and immobility for an extended period of time. If you suspect this injury, it's important to receive immediate medical attention.
After a physical exam, your doctor can run a variety of tests to determine if you have a broken collarbone. For example, an X-ray will tell your doctor if your collarbone is broken, as well as the severity.
What type of treatment is best?
Your medical team can guide you in regard to your treatment strategy. Most importantly, you should restrict any movement of the bone to ensure proper healing. This typically results in wearing a sling for a period of six to 12 weeks.
While not typically required, surgery may be necessary in the event of a severely broken collarbone, such as one that has shattered into several pieces.
During surgery, your surgeon will place rods, screws and/or plates into the collarbone to maintain proper positioning as you heal.
Regardless of the treatment strategy, you'll eventually partake in physical therapy to improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles in close proximity to your collarbone.
If you break your collarbone on the job, such as the result of a ladder accident, don't wait to do the following:
- Report the accident and injury to your employer
- Administer first aid
- Seek medical assistance at a local emergency room
A broken collarbone is likely to keep you out of work, so don't wait to learn more about your legal rights. For example, you can file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. This provides you with financial assistance until your injury heals, and you can return to your job.