Sprained Collar Bone

by Sam Malone

Bones can be fractured and broken but not sprained and the collar bone is no exception. So when someone says their collar bone is sprained, it is not the bone that is sprained but the joint that has structural ligaments around it that may be actually torn or inflamed. So you can have collar bone fracture not a sprain. There are ligaments that join the outermost part of the spine of the shoulder blade to the collar bone. This joint is known as the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, and is susceptible to sprains if it comes in contact with some kind of hard impact. Sometimes due to the same reason, there can also be dislocation or an AC separation which causes the collar bone to look popped up. Symptoms would differ depending on whether the injury is a sprain, a dislocation or a fracture. AC joint ligament sprain includes pain and weakness in the joints, there might also be a bump at the top of the shoulder. While broken collar bones have bruising, pain, swelling, tenderness, stiffness or grinding when the shoulder is moved.

Depending on the nature of the injury, the symptoms as well as diagnostic tests, treatment is advised. It is important to get the joint looked at by a medical expert to get the right diagnosis and treatment. AC joint sprains are divided into 3 categories. Grade I joint sprain includes mild discomfort with no immobilization. Grade II has moderate pain and swelling with moderate discomfort and Grade III consists of severe pain, bruising and swelling. Your doctor, after conducting the necessary physical tests, will determine which category your injury falls into and recommend treatment accordingly.

There are some things you can do at home to take care of a collar-bone sprain, these are:

  • Ice packs/Cold Compression: Using an ice pack or a cold compression can help alleviate swelling and pain in the area. The injured area will be inflamed and stressed due to the tear and ice or cold compression can help provide relief to the ligaments. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes, three times a day.
  • Rest: The injury needs time to heal; any stress on the area could temporarily stop the process. Don’t try lifting heavy things or stretching your arm to get something. A pull or a small strain is sufficient to get the injury back to square one.
  • Shoulder Protection: Protect your shoulder by wearing a sling or a brace. This will allow your shoulder to rest and avoid further injury to the area. Try not to sleep on the bad side of the shoulder as it could lead to further damage.
  • Elevation: Keep the shoulder elevated comfortably. This will reduce blood flow and help to decrease swelling.
  • Exercise: Your physiotherapist will give you a series of Range Of Motion exercises depending on the grade of the injury. These exercises are mainly to help regain strength, mobility and reduce pain and swelling. The first few days might seem to be difficult and may hurt but as the days go by, the pain will gradually start to reduce.
  • Diet: A diet rich in proteins can help build repair and reconstruct the tear in the ligament. Skinless poultry, beans, fish and shellfish are high in protein and will provide nutrients to aid healing.
Apart from these home remedies, your doctor may also recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs along with corticosteroid injections. Grade I and II almost never need surgery but if the injury is advanced and in the Grade III stage, surgery might be advised. This measure is only taken after physiotherapy as well medication has failed to deliver the necessary results.

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1323387/?page=2

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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