What is the most common mechanism causing clavicle fractures?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Benjamin P Kleinhenz, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Answer

Clavicle fractures may be caused by direct or indirect trauma. The most common mechanism is an indirect one in which the athlete falls onto the lateral shoulder, causing a compressive force across the clavicle. Examples of a direct mechanism would be a blow from a hockey stick or a direct fall onto the clavicle. At-risk athletes include those in football, hockey, and soccer and those at risk for falling during roller skating, skiing, bicycling, or horseback riding. A very high prevalence is also noted in MVAs. A less common mechanism is a fall onto an outstretched hand (ie, a FOOSH injury). The radiographs below depict clavicle fracture in a hockey player.

Comminuted fracture in a hockey player. Note the m Comminuted fracture in a hockey player. Note the medial fragment tenting the skin.
Additional view of fracture displacement and commi Additional view of fracture displacement and comminution in a hockey player. The sternocleidomastoid is the deforming force of the medial fragment.
Radiographs after open reduction and internal fixa Radiographs after open reduction and internal fixation of a comminuted fracture in a hockey player.

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