Clavicle fractures

Fractures of the clavicle are a very common injury to the upper limb, especially occurring in cycling accidents. Traditionally, these injuries have been treated with non-operative management. 

Traditional management

When a fractured clavicle is in good position (non-displaced) it may be treated non-operatively. 

This involves supporting the shoulder in a sling for approximately four weeks and only performing elbow, wrist and hand exercises. 

Then the patient gradually commences shoulder range of motion exercises as the pain begins to settle down.

In previous years, the following were considered indications for fixing a fracture semi-urgently:

• If the skin had been breached adjacent to the fracture (i.e. the fracture was open or ‘compound’)

• If there was neurological or vascular compromise

• If the skin was ‘threatened’ because