Management of symptoms

Pain is managed with a sling (figure), ice, and acetaminophen or aspirin type medications (e.g. ibuprofen or naproxen). For most patients, the fracture heals with a slight bump, the shoulder works well again, and there are no future problems such as arthritis.

Fractures that don’t heal sometimes have a crackling sensation with shoulder movement. Most people don’t find this too bothersome. Having an unhealed clavicle does not put you at any risk. If an unhealed clavicle fracture bothers you, surgery can be done later to get the bone to heal. Most people, who choose non-operative treatment, find their shoulder is comfortable and works well even if it heals with a bit out of place or doesn’t heal at all. But some people find this bothersome and request surgery to line it up better or get it to heal.

If you choose to avoid surgery initially and you are not satisfied with the result, surgery is an option later.



Figure: a sling