Your collarbone has been dislocated. In your case, the collarbone has shifted in the joint between the collarbone and the shoulder blade (the AC joint). This is called a dislocated AC joint. The ligaments around the joint are also damaged. The treatment consists of wearing a sling, having a short rest period and doing relevant shoulder exercises.
A dislocated collarbone is a common injury. Your collarbone is only slightly displaced (Rockwood type 1-2, see picture below). This dislocation often mends well.
- Your collarbone has been dislocated. It can possibly stay a little out of place, but this is nothing to worry about. The pain and the function of the joint will get better over time.
- An outpatient check-up is generally not necessary, so there is no need to make a new appointment.
- You will be wearing a sling for the first week. You can immediately start exercising as much as your pain or physical complaints allow, according to the instructions.
- Please find an instructional video for reapplying the sling in the Virtual Fracture Care app in the leaflet.
- It is important that you start your exercises to prevent the shoulder from becoming stiff.
- Appropriate exercises can be found in this leaflet or in the Virtual Fracture Care app.
If you have any questions or problems during the recovery, do not hesitate to contact us on workdays from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM via the 'Breuklijn' (fracture hotline): T 088 320 14 23.
The treatment consists of wearing a sling, having a short period of rest and doing specific shoulder exercises. You may start doing your exercises immediately after your hospital visit. This way, you will have less pain and your shoulder will heal the fastest.
|First week (Week 0)|
|After 6 weeks|
The following instructions are important to allow for a good healing:
- Have you received a sling? Use it for the first week to support the shoulder. When you go to sleep, you can take off the sling.
- Please find instructions for reapplying the sling in the Virtual Fracture Care app. (Link to instructional video in the app)
- You may immediately start your exercises according to the instructions. It is important that you start exercising right away to prevent shoulder stiffness.
- Use your arm and shoulder depending on your physical complaints. This means you can use the arm and shoulder for as long as you can tolerate the pain.
- You can find the exercises and instructions in the Virtual Fracture Care app or in the leaflet.
- For the first 6 weeks, you are not allowed to play sports in which you use your shoulder and/or arm. After that, you can slowly take up your sport again, as far as your pain complaints allow. It can sometimes take up to 3 months before you can exercise without complaints.
- Do you have pain? Use paracetamol if needed. Do not wait to take paracetamol until you are in too much pain. Always take it throughout the day. You can take 2 tablets of 500 mg paracetamol up to 4 times a day at fixed times.
After your collarbone has been dislocated, you may experience shoulder stiffness and loss of strength. Below are some specific exercises you can do to prevent this as much as possible. You can also find them in the Virtual Fracture Care app.
Important! Do not overstep your own physical limits while exercising. Pain can be a sign of overexertion. If you feel pain, stop exercising. You may feel fatigue or muscle aches. The pain will subside after a few days and you will be able to move better.
Train your shoulder as much as your pain allows. If you want, use the sling for support. Repeat the exercises 3 to 4 times a day.
Move the fingers and hand by making a fist 10 to 15 times.
Straighten and bend your elbow 10 to 15 times.
Press your forearm against your stomach. Hold this position for a few seconds and let go. Repeat this 10-15 times.
Press your forearm against the side of your chest. Make sure your forearm is against your stomach. Hold this position for a few seconds and let go. Repeat this 10-15 times.
Bend over slightly and make small circular motions with your elbow (pendulum movement) (see picture 1). Repeat this 10-15 times.
Do the exercises depending on your physical complaints. Try to take off the sling for as long as possible. Do not proceed to the next step in the exercise schedule until you are able to perform the previous exercises. Repeat the exercises 3 to 4 times a day.
The shoulder may also be fully moved outside the sling if the pain allows it: you cannot damage anything with it.
Press your stretched forearm against the side of your body (see picture 2). Hold this position for a few seconds and let go. Repeat this 10-15 times.
Bend over slightly and let your arm hang down, stretched. Make small circular motions, clockwise and counter-clockwise (see picture 3). Repeat this 10-15 times.
Bend and stretch the elbow while bent forward (see picture 4). Repeat this 10-15 times.
Move your hand over your chest towards your healthy shoulder and try to tap the shoulder blade. Support your elbow with your other hand (see picture 5). Repeat this 10-15 times.
Place your hands against each other in front of your chest and press them together (see picture 6). You will feel the muscles at the front of your shoulder working. Repeat this 10-15 times.
Stretch your arm. Bring it forward and lift it to shoulder height (see picture 7). Try to hold the arm here for a moment. Repeat this 10-15 times.
Bring your stretched arm sideways up to shoulder height (see picture 8). If necessary, use a wall for some support. Try to hold the arm here for a moment. Repeat this 10-15 times.
Move your arm backwards slowly with a stretched or bent elbow (see picture 9). Repeat this 10-15 times.
- Repeat the previous exercises, now gently lifting the arm above shoulder level. You may move your arm as far as the pain allows.
- Alternate the exercises and perform them at a leisurely pace.
Week 6 onwards
- You may return to full use of the shoulder as before.
- Swimming is a good exercise to get the shoulder function back to normal.
- If you feel that you can do fewer exercises due to less strength or pain, guidance from a physiotherapist is recommended. You can arrange this yourself with or without a referral from your GP.
Virtual Fracture Care app
In our Virtual Fracture Care app, you can find more information about your injury. You can also find exercises here to improve your recovery. You can find the app in the App Store (iPhone) and in the Google Store (Android). You can also scan the QR-code, automatically you will be transferred to the app.
Questions? Please call the 'Breuklijn'
If there are any questions after reading this information, please call our 'Breuklijn' (fracture hotline) on workdays between 10.00-12.00 via T 088 320 14 23.