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    Learn about shoulder anatomy, pain, and common shoulder injuries and disorders.

    Got shoulder pain?

    Do you have shoulder pain or have been diagnosed by a doctor with a shoulder injury?

    shoulder anatomy

    Collarbone Common Symptoms and Injury

    The clavicle is one of the main bones of the shoulder joint. The clavicle and acromioclavicular (AC) joint help increase the range of motion of the shoulder joint and increase the strength of the shoulder for movements above shoulder level. The clavicle also protects nerves and blood vessels from the neck to the shoulder and gives the neck structure.

    Injuries to the clavicle and AC joint are common and occur in sports activities that involve falls onto an outstretched arm or direct contact, such as in football or wrestling. Males age 13 to 20 have the most clavicle injuries. Younger children are at risk for clavicle fractures during play.

    Symptoms of an injured clavicle or AC joint may include:

    • Immediate pain, tenderness, and swelling.
    • Pain when lifting objects or raising the affected arm.
    • Inability to raise the affected arm.
    • Usually a need to support the affected arm to keep it from hanging down and causing pain.
    • The affected arm does not always appear out of position, but if a deformity is present, it appears as a bump or swelling along the clavicle at the AC joint.

    Fractures most commonly (80% of the time) occur in the middle of the clavicle bone. In rare cases, fractures can pinch nerves or blood vessels and cause the arm to turn pale and cool or have numbness or tingling.

    Mild injuries, such as sprains, are usually treated with rest, ice, medications to reduce pain and swelling, and a sling to immobilize the shoulder. Gentle stretching exercises and range-of-motion exercises can be started immediately and activities can progress as pain and other symptoms go away. Most adults heal within 4 to 6 weeks.

    A fractured clavicle usually is not a serious injury. In rare cases, the broken clavicle bone can injure a lung or rib and cause more serious symptoms.

    Treatment for more severe injuries depends on your age, work, and activity level. Occasionally, surgery may be recommended for more severe injuries.

    Always consult your Doctor when questioning pain, injury or any “nagging” experience with possible injury. This and any article in our website on injury, disease or dysfunction is intended to inform - not to diagnose, treat or advise.

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