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The diagnosis and treatment of a broken collarbone

A broken collarbone doesn't sound like the most serious injury, but it can result in extreme pain and discomfort. Furthermore, this injury has the potential to slow you down, thus making it more difficult to live your normal life.

If you suspect a broken collarbone, such as after a slip-and-fall accident at your place of employment, seek immediate medical attention.

Your doctor can order a variety of tests, such as an X-ray, to better understand your injury. From the location to the severity, taking a closer look at the injured area will help your doctor decide on the right plan of action.

There are several ways to treat a broken collarbone:

  • Immobilization: Since it can take up to 12 weeks for a broken collarbone to heal, immobilization with the use of a sling is often required.
  • Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to treat pain, discomfort and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy: Even when wearing your sling, some therapy is required to minimize stiffness and improve your ability to make a fast and full recovery.
  • Surgery: It's not always required, but if you have a severely displaced collarbone, it's often the only option.

A broken collarbone is a tricky injury because you can't cast it. Subsequently, it's up to you to closely follow the treatment schedule outlined by your medical team.

If you broke your collarbone at work, report the injury and circumstances to your employer. Also, if you're unable to return to work right away, file a claim for workers' compensation to help you financially during your recovery.

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