Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Clavicle Fracture Anatomy

To better understand clavicle fracture, it helps to understand the anatomy of the upper chest and shoulder joint.

The clavicle is a slightly curved bone that connects the sternum, or breastbone, to the acromion process of the scapula, or shoulder blade.

The shoulder joint allows motion between two major bones: the humerus and the scapula. The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. A depression of the scapula, known as the glenoid, provides the socket for the head of the humerus. Ligaments and muscles act to stabilize the scapular-humeral joint during range of motion and weight bearing.

The clavicle, or collar bone, connects to the scapula at the acromion, which is a bony projection off the scapula. The acromioclavicular ligaments normally surround and secure this joint.

There are four main ligaments supporting the A-C joint. One or more can be sprained (torn) during this injury. The ligaments include:

  • Acromioclavicular ligament
  • Coracoclavicular ligament
  • Deltoid ligament
  • Trapezius ligament

Anatomy examples:
  • The shoulder joint viewed from the front
  • The shoulder joint viewed from the back
  • The shoulder joint viewed from the top showing rotator cuff
  • Muscles of the shoulder
  • The acromioclavicular joint

Last Updated: Dec 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Clavicle Fracture References
  1. Chevalley T, Hoffmeyer P, Bonjour JP, Rizzoli R. An osteoporosis clinical pathway for the medical management of patients with low-trauma fracture. Osteoporos Int. 2002;13(6):450-5. [12107657]
  2. Kao FC, Chao EK, Chen CH, Yu SW, Chen CY, Yen CY. Treatment of distal clavicle fracture using Kirschner wires and tension-band wires. J Trauma. 2001 Sep;51(3):522-5. [11535903]
  3. Roset-Llobet J, Salo-Orfila JM. Sports-related stress fracture of the clavicle: a case report. Int Orthop. 1998;22(4):266-8. [9795817]
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