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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A clavicle fracture is a crack or break in your clavicle (collarbone).
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your shoulder, arm, hand, or fingers turn bluish or pale, or feel cold or numb.
- Your pain gets worse, even after rest and medicine.
- Your splint feels tight, or you have increased swelling.
- You cannot move your fingers.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your sling or wrap comes off or gets damaged.
- You have questions about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider within 1 week or as directed:
You may need to return for more x-rays to see how well your clavicle is healing. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Sling or brace care:
You will have a sling or a brace to keep your clavicle from moving while it heals. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on how to care for the sling or brace, including how to adjust it.
Apply ice on your clavicle for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice decreases swelling and pain.
Limit activity as directed by your healthcare provider. Slowly start to do more each day as the pain decreases.
Your healthcare provider may recommend physical therapy after your clavicle heals. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.