Most broken collarbones heal without difficulty. But complications may include:

  • Nerve or blood vessel injury. The jagged ends of a broken collarbone may injure nearby nerves and blood vessels. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any numbness or coldness in your arm or hand.
  • Poor or delayed healing. A severely broken collarbone may not heal quickly or completely. Poor union of the bones during healing may cause the bone to be shorter than it was before the break.
  • A lump in the bone. As part of the healing process, the place where the bone knits together forms a bony lump. This lump is easy to see because it's so close to the skin. While they usually disappear over time, some lumps are permanent.
  • Bone infection. If any part of your broken bone protrudes through your skin, it may be exposed to germs that can cause infection. Prompt treatment of this type of fracture is critical.
  • Osteoarthritis. If the fracture involves the joints that connect your collarbone to your shoulder blade or your breastbone, you may be at increased risk of eventually developing arthritis in that joint.
Dec. 06, 2012