Broken Collarbone

What can cause a broken collarbone (clavicle)?

A broken collarbone (also known as Clavicle) is often caused in football, gymnastics and even more so in contact sports. The shoulder usually suffers a direct blow to the front or side of the shoulder.


There will be pain in the front of the shoulder and along the collarbone. You may be able to see a slight distortion over the injured area. The damage may be a break or it could be a collar bone fracture.

Treatment and recovery

Medical advice is needed, but immediately after injury immobilize the arm in a comfortable position with a sling close to the body. Apply ice over the injured area to relieve pain and reduce swelling which is caused by blood and fluid around the injury. When applying the ice use a thin towel between ice and skin to prevent ice burn.

Collarbone Exercises

  • When the shoulder is free of pain gentle exercises can be done.
  • The movements will be within a very small range, but may be the only type of strengthening exercise that can be done without pain and should be started as soon as possible to promote the most useful healing.
  • Stand with your injured arm by your side and with you other hand hold your injured arm between you elbow and shoulder and push you injured arm forward holding the injured arm steady with your hand. Hold for a count of ten.
  • Repeat this exercise but this time push your injured arm backwards.
  • Same again but this time push your injured arm outwards.
  • Stand with your legs slightly apart, put your arms at your side and raise them to shoulder height. Hold for a count of ten and repeat.
  • Standing with your legs slightly apart, hold both arms out in front of you, raise them and touch your hands above your head.
  • These last two exercises can then be repeated using light weights.


The key to prevention is patience! Building up strength and flexibility gradually will enable you to resume your sport and lower the risk of further injury. Do not be tempted to return to your sport too early, and when you do, don’t play a full on game or match. Ease back gradually. Always warm up and stretch your muscles before you play. Make warm ups and stretching part of your sport. It is a small price to pay to prevent further injury.