Fracture > Treatments
Sling or Brace
Most collarbone fractures
can be treated without surgery, as a sling or a figure-eight
splint helps pull the shoulder back and align the collarbone.
Adults generally need to keep the injured shoulder immobilized
for four to six weeks, while children under 12 may need
three to four weeks. Rest, icing, and anti-inflammatory
painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin can ease pain
and swelling. Here is what you can expect and how you
can cope with a sling immobilizing your shoulder:
first concern is to monitor swelling for the first 48
hours while wearing your sling. Physicians generally
prescribe ice packs to be applied for 20 minutes at
a time, three or four times a day.
the swelling has decreased after three days, you may
be able to apply heat to help reduce pain. You should
not apply heat to swollen areas because heat increases
blood flow to the skin, which can prolong the healing
can remove the sling for brief periods to shower, but
remember to avoid moving your injured shoulder. Almost
all shoulder injuries heal better when the shoulder
your shoulder starts to heal, your physician may recommend
that you remove the sling for short periods to perform
some light, early-motion exercises.
should move your fingers and hands in the sling as much
as possible to help circulate blood.
you develop a rash or irritated skin around your sling,
call your physician.
you notice any abnormal wear or discomfort, contact
your physician as early as possible. In general, do
not try to "grin and bear it" if discomfort
does not go away within a few days.
The sling may make it difficult to use the hand of the
injured shoulder. Some people may need to take time
off from work after a collarbone fracture, depending
on how much they rely on the immobilized hand.
You may be able to begin light shoulder
exercises, as tolerated, after about three weeks of
immobilization of your collarbone fracture. After about
two or three weeks of immobilization, your physician
usually refers you to a physical therapist to begin
light rehabilitation exercises. The first stage of physical
therapy usually involves exercises designed to strengthen
your wrist and elbow by flexing and extending your hand
and arm with your shoulder held in place. Because your
arm has been held across your chest for weeks, rotating
or turning the shoulder outward may be painful when