Common Complications from a Broken Collarbone

People are advised to wear seatbelts as they can prevent injuries in an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports, from 1975 down to 2017, seatbelt use has saved 374,276 lives. The US has pushed the use of seatbelts for ages, with states like New Mexico treating the non-wearing of seatbelts as a violation of traffic laws. Reliable accident lawyers, such as John Yannone of Price Benowitz Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP, state that a broken collarbone may sound like a minor injury; however, serious complications can arise from such injuries. They further emphasize the significance of seatbelts in preventing people from sustaining serious injuries, such as a broken collarbone.

What Causes a Broken Collarbone?

Studies have shown that accident victims who suffer from a broken collarbone sustain injuries from improper use of seatbelts. A rightly positioned seatbelt is expected to lay on the shoulder and the wearer’s collarbone. This helps to ensure that the force in a crash is evenly distributed over the stronger bones.

However, some individuals place their seatbelts far to the left or right. This wrong placement causes the force to be unevenly distributed in a collision. This results in the snapping of the clavicle.

Complications That May Result from a Broken Collarbone

While wearing a seatbelt can save you from fatal consequences, it can also lead to a broken collarbone. Many accident victims who suffer from broken collarbones make a quick recovery. Some others, however, suffer some serious complications.

Here are some of the complications from a broken collarbone:

1. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis results from injuries sustained to the breastbone or the shoulder blade. This condition occurs in joints. Since the collarbone is connected to the breastbone and the shoulder blade, accident victims with a broken collarbone may suffer from osteoarthritis.

Victims suffering from osteoarthritis may experience general weakness, severe joint pain, and possible loss of motion. One needs to seek medical attention once they notice any of these symptoms. 

2. Damage to the Vein, Nerve, or Artery

The location of the collarbone in the body is such that it is close to major arteries, veins, and nerves. A broken collarbone may therefore result in significant damage to the arteries. Victims may suffer major neurological damage, paralysis, and severe loss of blood. 

3. Deformity

A broken collarbone may not heal properly and may unexpectedly shift during recovery. If the collarbone does not heal properly, it can shorten the bone, causing deformity on the arm. The deformity may limit motion in the affected area, and the victim may experience ongoing soreness for a long time.

Another symptom that may result from the collarbone not healing is consistent headaches. The victim’s life may never be the same again when they suffer complications from this type of injury.

4. Bone Infections

Individuals with a broken collarbone can be exposed to infections. This is usually the case if the broken bone breaks the skin, exposing it to germs and bacteria. The infection can cause deterioration of the bone and affect the bloodstream.

5. Complications from Surgery

Some broken collarbone victims require surgery. These surgeries have associated risks such as bleeding, blood clots, and lung injuries.

What Should You Do After Sustaining a Broken Collarbone?

If you were involved in an accident leading to a broken collarbone, it is ideal to seek medical attention immediately. Many people consider a broken collarbone a minor injury. However, if not promptly treated, several complications can arise.

You may be required to wear a sling all through the recovery period. Depending on the extent of the injuries, it may become necessary to undergo surgery to mend a collarbone fracture.

Treatment for a Broken Collarbone

You should expect any of the following treatments if you sustained a broken collarbone injury:

  • Medication: your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain reliever to help with the pain
  • Therapy: after the initial treatment, you may be advised to undergo physical therapy 
  • Surgery: a healthcare provider can help you decide if you require corrective surgery

Bottom Line

Many collarbone injuries can heal without complications. However, recovery time may be painfully long. Even after that, the victim may suffer from serious complications.

Some accident victims develop complications that result in long-term injuries. If the accident happened due to another person’s negligence, you would be entitled to compensation. It is ideal to consult a competent personal injury lawyer to help file a claim.