The clavicle, or collarbone, a long bone with a shaft and two ends, it can be easily palpated, and it is one of the most ordinarily fractured bones in the body. The two clavicles, on either side of the anterior base of the neck, are horizontal, S-curved that articulate laterally articulate with the outer end of the shoulder blade to support the shoulder joint; they medially articulate with the sternum.
Strong ligaments hold the clavicle in place at either end. The shaft of the clavicle gives attachment to the muscles of the shoulder girdle and neck.
Parts of the Clavicle
Similar to other long bones, it has two enlarged ends- medial & lateral end, and an elongated body (shaft). The shaft is S-shaped, which is an important feature for its strength.
Lateral End: The lateral end of the clavicle is flat, attaches to the scapula and is known as the acromial end. It then ends by joining with the acromion of the scapula to form the acromioclavicular joint or SC joints.
Medial End: The medial end of the clavicle that attaches to the sternum is known as the sternal end. This end is roughly triangular in shape and forms a joint known as the sternoclavicular joint or SC joints.
Shape of the Clavicle
The clavicle looks like an elongated capital S. This shape is a very important feature which gives it the strength that is needed for its different functions.
- The medial two-thirds is convex that it curves outwards when viewed from the front.
- The lateral one-third is concave that it curves inwards when viewed from the front.
Muscle Attachments of the Clavicle
- Front (anterior border) – pectoralis major muscle
- Back (posterior border) – sternocleidomastoid muscle, sternohyoid muscle and trapezius muscle.
- Top (superior surface) – deltoid muscle and trapezius muscle.
- Bottom (inferior surface) – subclavius muscle, conoid ligament and trapezoid ligament of the coracoclavicular ligament.
Location of the Clavicle
The clavicle is located at the top of the thoracic wall, just below the neck and to the sides of the sternum. It lies just above the first rib on either side of the anterior chest wall. The inner part of the clavicle is bound by the costoclavicular ligament to the first rib so that it does not elevate with the kineticism of the shoulder blade.
Functions of the Clavicle
- Absorbs force to the upper limb by transferring it to the axial skeleton, concretely the rib cage.
- Suspends the scapula (shoulder blade) so that the upper limb is able to move liberatingly for its gamut of kineticism.
- Protects the nerves and vessels of the upper limb that pass through the cervico-axillary (neck-armpit) canal and the apex of the lung.
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Collarbone Fracture & Management
Clavicle or commonly known as collarbone fractures are by far the most common cause of collarbone pain, and the most common bone to break accounting for about 5 percent of all adult fractures. Most commonly a fall onto the shoulder or on an outstretched arm or less often a direct blow to the collarbone or an RTA.
A broken collarbone can be quite painful and can make it difficult to move your arm. Collarbone pain notably feels if you place gentle pressure on the bone which may radiate to the shoulder, deformity and limited shoulder movement.
Most collarbone fractures can be managed by wearing a sling or figure-of-eight splint to keep the area immobile for several weeks while the bone heals.to keep the area immobile for several weeks
With some clavicle fractures, though, the pieces of bone travel far out of place when the injury occurs. For these more complex fractures, surgery may be needed to fix the broken pieces back together, may be needed to realign the collarbone.
The collarbone usually heals in 3-6 weeks in children, 6-12 weeks in adults. People usually make a full recovery by around 3 months.