Orthopaedics

Broken Collarbone – Complications and Treatments

Let us look at the complications, treatments and prevention techniques associated with a

broken collarbone

.

Complications of a Broken Collarbone:

Although in most cases healing of the injury poses no big problems, there might arise the following complications in a select few-


  • Injury to the blood vessel or nerve.

    The broken bone can injure the neighboring nerves and blood vessels as well. If the injured region were to go numb, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention.


  • Healing issues.

    Sometimes, the healing process can be delayed or just be poor. If the bones were not to align properly, the healed one could become shorter in length when compared to its length prior to the injury.


  • Bulge.

    Immediately after the injury, a bulge would develop on or near the shoulder. In some this would heal, while a few may carry it permanently.


  • Frozen shoulder.

    As a part of the healing process, the shoulder would remain immobilised. Even after healing, this might lead to a restricted motion range of the shoulder accompanied by pain.


  • Bone infection.

    Open fractures can allow germs to attack the bones there by infecting the bones.


  • Osteoarthritis.

    People with a history of fractured bones are at a risk of developing degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis.

Treatments:

Based on the region and the location and the type of the fracture, the treatment would vary. Let us look at the various techniques.


  • Ice.

    Applying ice packs to the injured region for the initial two or three days can reduce the swelling and pain.


  • Immobilisation.

    For a broken bone to heal properly, it is imperative to restrict its movements. For this an arm sling over the shoulder is usually the preferred method. Sometimes, the doctor may restrict the movement of both the shoulders with a figure eight kind of strap to align the bone properly. The healing time usually is 3-6 weeks in children and 6-12 weeks in adults.


  • Medications.

    Over the counter medications are usually enough to suppress the pain and inflammation. Only in cases of severe pain would narcotics be prescribed.


  • Therapy.

    Rehabilitation period usually starts within days after initial treatment. In order to avoid the problem of a frozen shoulder, doctors would recommend exercises that would help restore muscle strength, flexibility and joint motion.


  • Surgery.

    Only in the case of open fractures (where the bone pierces the skin), severe dislocation and fragmented bones would a surgery be required. Plates, rods and screws would be used to align the bone properly.

For treating a

broken collarbone

in infants, there is no specific treatment as such, as the injury would heal by itself in time. It is thus, essential to handle the baby properly during the delivery process.

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