The clavicle or collarbone is a long bone that provides support between the shoulder blade and the sternum. Though many people refer to a singular collarbone, the body has two clavicles, on the left and right sides of the chest. It is fairly common for people, particularly active and athletic individuals, to fracture their clavicles. This can cause swelling, pain, and bruising. Minor fractures may only require arm support and physical therapy while more serious fractures require surgical intervention.
Though each broken collarbone varies from the next, around 80 percent of clavicle fractures occur near the middle of the bone -- the weakest point. The edges of the clavicle act as attachment sites for ligaments and powerful muscles such as the deltoids in the upper arms and the pectoralis major. These tissues provide support and protect the collar bone. In some instances, a clavicle may break where it attaches to the ribcage or a shoulder blade.
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