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Broken collar bone in children

This page is about broken collar bones in children. For adults, see Broken collar bone

Broken collar bone is above the ribs and shoulder, under the neckA broken collar bone (also called fractured clavicle) is a very common injury that happens in people of all ages. It is also one of the most common sports injuries that happens to children and teenagers.

Your collar bones (clavicle) are the long bones running from the centre of your chest to your shoulders, underneath your neck and above your ribs. They run from your breastbone (sternum) to the top part of your shoulder blade (scapula), and connect your arms to your body.

People usually break a collarbone if they have been hit directly on their shoulder or fallen onto an outstretched arm. Collar bone breaks are common in contact sports (like football, rugby and hockey) and in sports where there is a chance of a hard fall (such as biking, skiing, snowboarding, and skateboarding). A collar bone can also break when it is directly hit during a car collision or other accident.

Broken collar bones in children

When children break a collar bone it generally happens in the middle of the bone, with the broken ends still together. These breaks usually heal well simply with rest and time.

Occasionally, however, if the broken ends of the collar bone are pointing away from each other, or the break is severe, the child may need surgery to realign the bone. If this happens, the surgeon will use screws and plates, or occasionally wires (called titanium elastic nails), to hold the pieces of the collar bone in place as they heal. The surgeon will discuss details of your child's particular surgery with you.

Things you can do

There are some things you and your child can do to make sure the bone heals as well and as quickly as possible.

Your doctor or nurse practitioner will tell you when they will need to see your child again. Sometimes for straightforward breaks that are still in a normal position, your child may not need any follow up.

When to seek further treatment

While most breaks should heal, you should go back to your GP or the clinic your child was treated at if they have:

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by orthopaedic surgeon, Canterbury DHB. Page created May 2017.


Page reference: 361999

Review key: HISAA-362960