Car accidents cause thousands of broken bones each year. Broken collarbones make up about 5% of all bone fractures. When an ankle is fractured, it can be painful and debilitating and can put a person out of action for a while, depending on the severity.
If you have sustained a broken collarbone in a vehicle accident in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, contact Attorney Edith Pearce at The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Types of Collarbone Fractures
A broken collarbone is a break in the clavicle bone that runs from the shoulder blade (scapula) and the ribcage (sternum). The long part of the bone is called the shaft, and most fractures happen in the middle of this bone.
A break in this bond renders the shoulder inoperable and even though you can still move and use your arm, it brings a lot of pain, so the arm is essentially out of commission for the duration of the healing. There are a few types of breaks that are common with a collarbone:
- Mid-Shaft Fracture: This is the most common, almost 80%, of collarbone breaks. The severity of the break can determine the recovery period and the level of pain.
- Distal Clavicle Fractures: Less common than a mid-shaft fracture, the break is toward the end of the clavicle close to the shoulder.
- Medial Clavicle Fracture: This is a break near the sternum at the sternoclavicular joint.
Causes of Broken Collarbone
Like all bone fractures, any break can be mild or severe. When a clavicle breaks, it can break cleanly and stay in relative position (stable fracture) or it can break into many pieces (comminuted fracture) which is more severe. If those pieces could move away and out of place (displaced fracture), the injury becomes more severe and the recovery time is lengthened.
Most broken collarbones happen from a direct blow to the shoulder. This puts pressure on the clavicle shaft, and if there is enough pressure, it breaks. In an auto accident, there are many ways a clavicle can break. A hit from the side such as a broadside or T-bone can impact the shoulder. Also, a rear-end or head-on collision can impact the shoulder and cause a break.
Pain is the first symptom of a collarbone break. All bone fractures are painful and a clavicle fracture is no exception. Pain alone doesn’t mean a break has occurred, so other symptoms might indicate a break, they are:
- Sagging of the shoulder downward and forward.
- When lifting arm, pain in region worsens and the victim could feel a grinding sensation. Too
- A bump over the area of the suspected break.
- Bruising and/or swelling over the collarbone area.
These symptoms give the person an idea if the bone is broken, but a doctor will order an x-ray or other imaging to be sure and to see the extent of the break.
In most cases, the only treatment is to manage the pain and put the arm in a sling. In some cases, if the bone has moved out of place (displaced fracture) then it will have to be set back in place and then the shoulder an arm immobilized.
In rare cases, if the fracture is segmented and displaced, surgery might be required to put the bone back together. The surgeon will use plates and screws and maybe wires to fix the bones in place.
Recovery time for a collarbone fracture is three to four months, maybe more if the break was serious or surgery was necessary. Once the bone has healed sufficiently, then the patient will undergo physical therapy to regain full movement and use of the arm and shoulder.
Philadelphia Collarbone Fracture Lawyer:
If you are injured by someone else’s negligence in a car accident and suffered a broken ankle, speak to a Philadelphia traumatic injury lawyer as soon as you are able to. This doesn’t mean you have to hire the attorney, but you owe it to yourself to learn about your rights under the law. Philadelphia personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. At The Pearce Law Firm, P.C., we will only offer you legal advice which is in your best interest.