Clavicle fracture. Physical therapy during week 1.

December 11, 2011


Clavicle fracture rehabilitation. Part 1.

Here, at collarbone pain website, we are trying to aggregate all the information pertaining the collarbone pain and clavicle fracture, the reasons of it and rehabilitation techniques that are being used currently in physical therapy. By all means, consult you private health provider before utilizing this information.

In this article we would like to discuss methods and techniques used for clavicle (collarbone) fracture rehabilitation. But let’s start with the disclaimer – the exercises that we are giving here should be utilized after the initial healing period. During this period please do not raise the injured arm above 90 degrees and do not load more than 5 pounds. Were you to have a sling prescribed, you should always watch your posture and maintain your body mechanics so that to maintain balanced shoulder position and bone alignment. Start the physical therapy exercises only when your doctor gives you a go.

Exercises are:

1. Basic static isometric exercises.

 This method is based on the isometric muscle contraction, when the muscle is fired but the joints are staying immobile. The main benefit of this method is that we can safely use it for rehabilitation without putting stress on the joints, thus isolating the muscle groups that we need to be engaged. For the collarbone (clavicle) fracture we would use the isometric triceps exercise: place your injured collarbone side arm on the table, creating a 90 degree angle. Make a vertical fist and press down on the table with it. As a result your arm would not move but the triceps will contract.

2. Pendulum exercise.

 This basic exercise helps you reestablish you shoulder joint range of motion and stimulates the muscles and ligaments around the fractured area. Bend forward so that you injured arm is hanging free perpendicular to the floor. Make ten rotations with your arm clockwise and ten counterclockwise so that the whole arm is rotating relating to its vertical axis. Next, move your arm forward and backward and side to side. 10 times each. Remember to initiate the arm movement, utilizing your legs as is shown in the video below. As you get comfortable utilizing this method you can start incorporating some additional weight – use light dumbbell (1 to 5 pounds).

3. Small squeeze ball exercise.

 Grab a tennis ball sit down by the table. Place the injured arm on the table creating a 90 degree angle. Start squeezing the ball applying even pressure. Make several sessions a day with the duration from 1 to 10 minutes. Increase the frequency of the exercise depending on your progress. Do not perform it if you feel pain in the collarbone area.

One thing to always keep in mind during you first week of rehabilitation from the clavicle fracture is that to always monitor your collarbone pain and be very careful with the intensity of the physical therapy. Always consult your doctor and schedule a weekly appointment to monitor the rehabilitation process.

In the next article we will discuss the clavicle fracture exercise progression plan for week 2.

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