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Broken collar bone in children

Tāhei tāwhatiwhati i ngā tamariki

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. It's one of the most common sports injuries for tamariki (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.

A broken collar bone usually happens if you get hit directly on your shoulder or fall 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 crash or other accident.

When tamariki 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 with just rest and time.

Occasionally, if the broken ends of the collar bone point away from each other, or the break is severe, the tamaiti (child) may need surgery to realign the bone. The surgeon will use screws and plates, or sometimes wires (called titanium elastic nails), to hold the pieces of the collar bone in place as they heal. The surgeon will discuss the particular surgery your tamaiti child needs with you.

Helping your child with a broken collar bone

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

Getting more help for a broken collar bone

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

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2022.


Page reference: 361999

Review key: HISAA-362960