A clavicle fracture is a break in the collarbone, one of the main bones in the shoulder. This type of fracture is fairly common—accounting for about 5 percent of all adult fractures. Most clavicle fractures occur when a fall onto the shoulder or an outstretched arm puts enough pressure on the bone that it snaps or breaks. A broken collarbone can be very painful and can make it hard to move your arm.
Most clavicle fractures can be treated by wearing a sling to keep the arm and shoulder from moving while the bone heals. With some clavicle fractures, however, the pieces of bone move far out of place when the injury occurs. For these more complicated fractures, surgery may be needed to realign the collarbone.
A clavicle fracture can be very painful and may make it hard to move your arm. Other signs and symptoms of a fracture may include:
Sagging of the shoulder downward and forward
Inability to lift the arm because of pain
A grinding sensation when you try to raise the arm
A deformity or "bump" over the break
Bruising, swelling, and/or tenderness over the collarbone