Clavicle fractures

The famous South African cyclist, Darryl Impey, suffered 2 broken Collarbones in his professional career, one in 2015 on the 3rd stage of Tour de France and again in 2017 in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The cyclist was out for 6 weeks after the injury and followed rehab protocols to get him back on the bicycle as soon as possible

Clavicle (collarbone) fractures is a common sports injury that occurs from an impact to the shoulder or a fall on an outstretched arm. Broken clavicles usually require surgical intervention, however each clavicle injury is unique and the Physician and Physical therapist will assess you and determine the best rehabilitation program

Before we get into rehab detail on a broken clavicle, let’s first look at the anatomy of the clavicle.

The clavicle is a large double curved long bone that connects the arm to the trunk. It is located just above the 1st rib and acts as a strut to keep the scapula (shoulder blade) in place so the arm can hang freely.

Rehab of broken clavicle

Phase 1

2-4 weeks post surgery you will be wearing a sling to immobilise the shoulder joint to help the clavicle heal. Ice can be used to help with pain, swelling and inflammation.

Phase 2

After the initial healing process, your Physiotherapist will start with range of motion exercise on the shoulder as well as elbow to help restore joint mobility. You might still feel pain during this phase and you can continue to use ice for pain or your Physiotherapist will recommend TENS, a neurmuscular stimulation device to help treat pain. If you had surgery, your Physiotherapist will also work on scar tissue mobility using massage techniques.

Phase 3

During this phase, you will see your Biokineticist to strengthen the joint and further improve joint range of motion. This phase will help restore muscle and bone strength lost during the mobilisation phase and also get you ready for your sport again. Your Biokineticist will start off with isometric exercises to start the strengthening phase and move on to concentric and eccentric movements to further strengthen the muscles around the affected joint. Depending on your sport, your Biokineticist will also introduce sport specific exercises to make sure you are ready and strong enough to participate in your sport again.

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