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Clavicle fracture (collarbone)

Fractures of the collarbone (clavicle) are relatively common in football players, particularly younger players. They can occur from falls on hard ground or from a direct collision (shoulder clash).

Fortunately they can usually be treated without surgery and they usually heal well. Re-fractures can occur if players elect to return to play early (between 6-12 weeks after injury).

Clavicle fractures can occur in other sports as well. Lance Armstrong, the seven times Tour de France winner underwent surgery after he fractured his right clavicle during the first stage of the Veulta Castilla y Leon in 2009.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of surgery in professional players?

Surgery can be used to stabilise a fractured clavicle and may reduce recovery time and decrease recurrence rates in professional players. Surgical complications may arise including infection and hardware movement. There may also be a need for later surgery to remove hardware. For these reason, surgery is less common in amateur athletes.
Clavicle fracture xray
X-ray of a clavicle fracture (collarbone fracture)
Clavicle fracture collarbone
Normal bony landmarks are obscured due to swelling from a clavicle fracture