Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Clavicle Fractures in Children: The Essentials

Shannon, Elizabeth G.; Hart, Erin S.; Grottkau, Brian E.

doi: 10.1097/NOR.0b013e3181b57a27

A fracture of the clavicle is a relatively common injury that occurs in patients of all ages. The clavicle is the most commonly fractured long bone in children. The infant, child, or adolescent with a clavicle fracture usually has a history of trauma. Typically, there is localized pain over the fracture, with associated edema and crepitus. Consideration of anatomy within the area of the fracture is essential so that associated injuries can be diagnosed and appropriately treated. Most clavicle fractures heal uneventfully and can be treated nonoperatively. Surgical treatment with open reduction and internal fixation is occurring more often, however, because of potential long-term concerns with functional outcome and decreased range of motion. This article briefly reviews the anatomy and function of the clavicle, common mechanisms of injury, physical examination findings, and conservative as well as surgical management of pediatric clavicle fractures.

Elizabeth G. Shannon, PhD, RN, PNP, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Boston, MA.

Erin S. Hart, MS, RN, CPNP, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Boston, MA.

Brian E. Grottkau, MD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Boston, MA.

The authors have disclosed that they have no financial relationships related to this article.

For more than 32 additional continuing nursing education articles related to the topic of orthopaedic nursing, go to

© 2009 National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses