woman talking to doctor about shoulder pain

Care for Clavicle Fractures in Central GA

What is a Clavicle Fracture?

A clavicle fracture, also known as a broken collarbone, is a fracture of the bone that connects the sternum to the shoulder. The clavicle acts as a strut that connects the chest to the shoulder. It is a commonly fractured bone, especially in the pediatric population. There are many mechanisms by which a clavicle may break, such as a car accident, sports injury, or even something as minor as a fall. If you believe you have broken your collarbone, you should seek medical attention right away. Proper treatment for this type of injury is key to continuing functional use of your shoulder. Our shoulder specialists at OrthoGeorgia work with patients facing a wide range of joint conditions and injuries, including collarbone fractures in Central Georgia. Learn more about this injury below, and contact the OrthoGeorgia clinic location nearest you to get the care you deserve.

How Do I Know if I Have Broken My Collarbone?

A clavicle fracture can be caused by anything that places sudden pressure on the shoulder, such as a direct blow to the area. This type of injury can occur due to a fall on the shoulder, a car accident, or a collision during sports. A fall onto an outstretched arm can also result in a clavicle fracture. Clavicle fractures can be very painful and limit your ability to move your arm. Other symptoms may include sagging of the shoulder, a grinding sensation when you try to raise your arm, a deformity or bump over the break, and bruising/swelling over the collarbone. Any of these symptoms should prompt you to seek medical attention. A delay in treatment can lead to a longer recovery time. If you are unable to see a doctor right away, you should immobilize the arm by holding it close to your body and ice the injured area 20 to 30 minutes at a time. At OrthoGeorgia, we will take the time needed to get to know you and understand the extent of your injury. A personalized care plan will be produced by the provider and conveyed to you.

How is a Broken Collarbone Diagnosed?

When you come to see us with a suspected broken collarbone, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. A gentle physical exam of the area will be performed. Imaging tests used to diagnose a collarbone fracture include X-ray and CT scan. Digital X-rays, which are performed at all OrthoGeorgia locations, can be used to determine where exactly the break is located, how severe it is, and whether other bones in the area are injured. X-rays may cover the shoulder area as well as the collarbone specifically. A CT scan is occasionally required, and can be performed at our Macon Spine & Orthopaedic Center. This specialized x-ray gives greater detail of the fracture site. Once your injury has been accurately diagnosed, your doctor will create a personalized treatment plan for you.

How are Clavicle Fractures Treated in Central GA?

Treatment for a clavicle fracture will depend on the severity of the fracture and whether or not the broken ends of the bone have shifted out of place. Most clavicle fractures  are able to heal without the need for surgery, but your treatment path will depend on your specific injury. Whether you need surgery or not, the members of our team will be here to support you throughout the recovery process.

Nonsurgical Clavicle Fracture Treatment

If your collarbone has not broken through the skin and the break minimally displaced, your doctor will likely recommend conservative treatment methods. Natural healing of the collarbone can take several weeks, and during that time period, the broken bone must be kept still. You will most likely need to wear a sling throughout this time and modify your activities. Medications like acetaminophen can be used to manage pain as the bone heals. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy as part of your treatment plan, which can have significant benefits. Arm motion needs to be maintained as the bone heals, and a physical therapist can help you accomplish this safely. They will teach you exercises for elbow motion and help you prevent stiffness and weakness. Once the fracture is completely healed, you will likely continue to work with your therapist, since it is common to lose some shoulder and arm strength following a collarbone injury. OrthoGeorgia is proud to give our patients access to comprehensive physical therapy care in Central Georgia, including rehab programs created specifically for upper extremity injuries. Our occupational therapists and certified hand therapists are here to support your recovery every step of the way.

Do I Need Surgery if I Break My Collarbone?

Surgery for a clavicle fracture may be recommended if the broken ends of the bones have significantly shifted out of place. There are a few different surgical options for a broken collarbone, with a primary goal of ensuring that the bone is held in place as it heals. This can be accomplished using plates, screws, or rods. Open reduction and internal fixation with a plate and screws is the most common surgical treatment for a clavicle fracture. This surgical technique immobilizes the fracture fragments internally as the bones heal. If surgery is the best next step for you, your surgeon at OrthoGeorgia will explain the process and ensure that you feel confident and comfortable with your care. We will make sure you understand how to prepare for the procedure and what to expect afterwards. Our orthopaedic surgery centers in Central GA provide first-class orthopaedic surgical care in a warm, caring, and safe environment.

Other Shoulder Conditions We Treat at OrthoGeorgia

If you are facing a shoulder injury or condition that interferes with your daily life and activities, we encourage you to reach out to OrthoGeorgia today. We want to help you get back to doing what you love by providing an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Our shoulder specialists have years of experience working with patients of all ages in Central GA. Shoulder injuries and conditions we regularly treat include:

Total Joint Replacement Specialists at OrthoGeorgia

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Jonathan S. Harris, MD
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Dennis K. Jorgensen, MD
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Todd E. Kinnebrew, MD
Dr. Gregory Lee headshot
Gregory P. Lee, MD
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Brian J. Ludwig, MD
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Wood D. Pope, MD
Dr. Joseph Slappey headshot
Joseph E. Slappey Jr., MD
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Timothy R. Stapleton, MD
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Richard J. Thomas, MD
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Robert M. Thornsberry, MD
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Matthew J. Toth, MD
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Zaneb Yaseen, MD

Total Joint Care Locations

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Macon Urgent Care

3708 Northside Drive, Building A, Macon, GA 31210

Call (478) 745-4206

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Spine Center

3708 Northside Drive, Building B, Macon, GA 31210

Call (478) 745-4206

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Warner Robins Urgent Care

301 Margie Drive, Warner Robins, GA 31088

Call (478) 971-1153

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Kathleen Orthopaedic Center

2510 GA-127, Kathleen, GA 31047

Call (478) 971-1153

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OrthoGeorgia Milledgeville office

2803 North Columbia Street, Suite D, Milledgeville, GA 31061

Call (478) 414-5820

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222 Perry Hwy, Bldg B, Hawkinsville, GA 31036, USA

Call (478) 971-1153

Awards and Affiliations

Viewers Choice 2020
The Telegraph Best of 2021
Greater Macon Business of Year
Go Beyond Proffit Member
Top 100
AAAHC Accreditation
ACR Radiology Computed
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Greater Macon Business of Year