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Clavicle pain – causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention.

March 1, 2012


What is Clavicle Pain?

Clavicle pain is experienced when one has a fracture in the collar bone or injury in the shoulder. The pain can as well be as a result of certain bone related ailments although it is widely known as collarbone pain.

The basic function of this bone is to serve as a strut or rigid support from which the shoulder blade and the limb which are suspended. It is responsible for transmitting physical impact from the arms to the head as well as trunk of the human body.

clavicle painClavicle is a curved bone in the body and it is crucial since it acts as the main connector between the main central skeleton and the shoulder. In case of any injury to the collarbone, individuals may have to endure spells of discomfort and uneasiness. Although the function of this bone is to support as well as connect the central skeleton and the shoulder joint this bone has very few muscle attachments.

Additionally, the location of the bone makes it highly susceptible to fractures and other forms of injuries. Therefore, this article we will look at the broad causes, symptoms, treatment and possible prevention measures for this condition.

Infants, adolescents, children and adults are extremely prone to collarbone injury and pains. The case could be worse in growing up children given that it solidifies and develops mostly during teenage years. Teenagers are also very active in sports and other activities making them prone to injuries.

Main causes of clavicle pain

The most common causes of this discomfort is a fracture in the clavicle since it is protected by hard bones. When the bone is hard hit a fracture is bound to happen hence the terrible pain. Of all the major kinds of bone related fractures, the one to the clavicle accounts to about five percent of the total fractures.

There are many causes of clavicular fractures including overstretched upper extremity. This happens due to some level of stress to the shoulder joint which is attached to the main skeleton making the clavicle to eventually succumb. In case of fractured tension as a result of any violent movements given that the bone is one of the usual sports injuries.

Many people in active sports like athletes, tennis players, footballers and wrestlers are usual victims to this problem. It happens since they require extensive movements suing the bone. A fall on the shoulder may lead to this fracture and breakage of the clavicle. Additionally, any direct blow, trauma or direct force to the bone can lead to serious pain.

Other causes of clavicle pain

Other causes of this pain include acromioclavicular joint that leads to dislocation between the clavicle and the shoulder. This can also happen when there is active absorption of the bone resulting from hyperactivity of the osteclasts. Additionally, a serious heart attacks and inflammation of the bursitis and the bursa pods can lead to this condition. Degeneration of the clavicle muscle is also associated with this problem.

Symptoms of clavicle pain

There are certain obvious signs and symptoms that point to this problem. The main symptoms include:Nausea, visual disturbance and dizziness among other thingsAggravated pain that results from any form of movement especially in the upper extremity. There is also a lot of pain in the shoulders. People can feel the fracture through the skin once the swelling subsidesThere will be obvious swelling and pain to the clavicle. The swelling can be highly localized or slightly generalized in the neck as well as the shoulder.There is a tendency to suffer from referred pain in the area like extreme ache in and around the area. This may also include pain in the surrounding muscle.

Possible treatment for clavicle pain

Treatment options vary depending of the underlying cause of the pain. In case the pain is as a result of a fracture of the clavicle, then the treatment administered will include resting and relaxing the affected area. The area can be supported using a sling and this should be accompanied by some painkillers to help the bone to heal slowly.
In some cases, around five to ten percent of the cases may require surgical interventions. This happens in cases of communution with separation, shortening of the clavicle, skin penetration and non union of bone fragments that lasts several months. This procedure entail open reduction internal plate fixation.

When carrying out this procedure, an anatomically shaped steel plate or titanium is fixed along the upper aspect of the bone using medical screws. However, surgical procedures might have their downside including infections, non uniformity of bone fragments and untoward neurological symptoms.

Additionally, post surgical healing will depend of a number of factors including intensity of the fracture, location of the displacement and age of the patient among other factors. In case the pain is as a result of other factors other than fractures the treatment procedures will also vary. The healing time also varies between children and old people. With kids the haling can be about two weeks while in adults it can take about one month.

Prevention of clavicle pain

Preventing this problem includes inclusion measures and alternatives. This may include use of protective equipment like well fitted shoulder pads when riding or playing. Others include seeking early treatment and diagnosis.

A series of pain relief as well as rehabilitation measures which include post injury diagnosis. This is important in increasing strength and flexibility of the arm and most of the time the clavicle is allowed to heal by itself with some constant monitoring progress in just a few weeks.

In conclusion

Injury and fracture of the clavicle is seen mostly seen in individuals who are involved in active sports. In such cases, it is always good to wear protective clothing and pads before venturing out. This is important in preventing the chances of injury and fracture of the clavicle. However, if the above treatment and prevention measures discussed above are followed to the latter, then one can be sure to have the problem of clavicle pain resolved.

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Collarbone Pain Diagnosis

December 4, 2011


Collarbone pain. Correct injury diagnosis is essential.

Collarbone pain reasons and the injury diagnosis should be carried out by the professional orthopedic doctor during the clinical exam. The final diagnostics of this type of injury should be done by using computer tomography that allows for more precise judgment.

1. Diagnosis of the collarbone fractures.

collarbone pain Collarbone fractures are accounted for 15% of all bone injuries. Very often those types of injuries happen to kids and young adults.

During the examination very often the shoulder girdle shortening is revealed. Sometimes the collarbone fractures are visually assessable. Children can break the collarbone without compromising the integrity of the periosteum. In this case the fracture diagnosis is difficult, but the collarbone pain and bruises help establishing the correct diagnosis. Clavicle fractures can injure the pleura, nearby blood vessels. However this is extremely rare, usually those cases are not that complicated.

X-ray diagnosis determines the location of clavicle fracture and the displacement of bone fragment. As the first aid the patient’s arm should be suspended with the headscarf.

2. Dislocation of the collarbone joint diagnosis.

 collarbone painCollarbone dislocations are accounted for 3% to 19% of all skeleton dislocations. Dislocations can be full or partial. Full dislocations happen when both ends of clavicle bone tissues are ruptured. Symptoms are: swelling on the outer end of the collarbone, palpable tenderness, but most importantly the “piano key” symptom.

If partial dislocation is present the surgeon can stop on the “subluxation” diagnosis that will significantly affect treatment procedures.  Dislocation of the clavicle in the acute period requires surgical treatment with Ilizarov external fixator and with the true sublixation only the conservative treatment with the triangular bandage is needed. To avoid diagnosis errors during the x-ray exam the patient should stand with the load of 2 to 3 kilograms in the injured hand. In vertical position loaded hand will move downwards and the collarbone will move upwards.

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