Dealing with collarbone dislocation

Collarbone dislocation is a condition where the collarbone or clavicle becomes separated from the joints at its attached ends. It is an injury that happens due to a direct blow to the shoulder. The injury involves the surrounding structure, ligament tears and injuries to the muscles.

The collarbone or clavicle is the bone extending from the breastbone to the shoulders on both sides of the body. Injuries due to collarbone dislocation vary on the degree of severity.

There are 2 types of collarbone dislocation such as:

  • Shoulder separation which is the common type. It is dislocation of the collarbone at the outer end where it is attached to the joint of the shoulder.
    collarbone-dislocation

    Apply an ice pack on the affected area to lessen the swelling and inflammation.

  • Sternoclavicular joint dislocation involves dislocation of the collarbone in the inner end where it is attached to the sternum. In this condition, the collarbone becomes displaced in both directions. Anterior dislocation happens due to pressure placed on the shoulder being pushed backwards towards the front of the sternum such as a front blow to the shoulder. When the shoulder is forced forward and the collarbone becomes dislocated backwards, it is called posterior dislocation.

Common causes of collarbone dislocation

  • Sports injuries such as being hit hard on the shoulder, a direct blow on the shoulder either being hit by someone or falling on the ground.
  • Falling off and striking the shoulder during a vehicular accident
  • Falling after losing balance or falling from a height

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected shoulder that spreads to the chest, backwards to the upper and middle back and to the hands and arms.
  • Swelling and bruising and a bluish black discoloration of the area
  • Tenderness when touched
  • Swelling of the shoulder
  • Difficulty in raising the arms and overhead reaching activities
  • Movements of the upper body, chest and breathing becomes difficult
  • Limited range of movement
  • Weakness in the arms and there is pain when holding objects by the hand

Treatment

  • Take plenty of rest especially the afftected shoulder for fast healing of the condition. Avoid performing activities that uses the injured joint such as moving the arms, shoulder and chest. Avoid twisting movement of the upper back, bending, awkward postures and lifting objects.
  • Use braces or a sling to prevent unnecessary movement of the area and support the shoulder from further damage.
  • Apply an ice pack on the affected area to lessen the swelling and inflammation.
  • Take the prescribed pain medication such as ibuprofen and paracetamol to lessen the pain and inflammation.

Tips

  • Wearing appropriate sports gear and following safety measures while playing.
  • Proper warm-up before performing exercises and cooling down stretches after exercise to keep the muscles strong.

More Information

The details posted on this page on collarbone dislocation is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage joint and skeletal injuries including a collarbone dislocation enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.

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