Broken bones affect your ability to exercise and do normal daily activities. The clavicle bone, also called your collarbone, is susceptible to fractures from direct blows to the shoulder. Initially, you will have to wear a sling as the bone heals and for protection.
However, when the bone starts to heal, you will be able to do gentle, progressive clavicle exercises for the arm and shoulder to improve range and strength. Speak with your physical therapist or physician prior to initiating an exercise program after a clavicle fracture.
Exercises after a broken clavicle bone include shoulder range of motion and gentle strengthening.
1. Swing the Pendulum
The pendulum exercise is a gentle, passive exercise that decreases stiffness in the shoulder and elbow joints. Do this exercise by bending forward at the waist with a straight back. You can hold onto a wall or table with the non-injured arm for support.
Let the injured arm hang down in front of you toward the floor and start to gently make rotations with your hand. Your shoulder should be relaxed and loose. Continue to make arm circles both clockwise and counterclockwise for 30 to 45 seconds each direction. Repeat up to five times with short rests in between as needed.
2. Squeeze the Shoulder Blades
Because the clavicle attaches to the shoulder blade, also known as the scapula, inactivity can lead to weak scapular muscles and poor posture. Scapular retractions strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blade and also prevents rounding and stiffness of the shoulders. Do this exercise with a resistance band tied to a doorknob at waist height.
Stand tall, arms by sides and elbows bent to 90 degrees. Hold one end of the band in each hand and slide your elbows back behind your body, maintaining their 90-degree angle. Squeeze your shoulder blades together during the action but avoiding hiking your shoulders. Repeat 10 to 15 times, or until fatigue sets in, for two to three sets.
3. Follow the Horizon
The horizontal shoulder abduction exercise helps increase range of movement around the clavicle bone. Do this exercise when your pain has decreased and you are able to lift your arm to 90 degrees.
Stand tall with arms held out in front of you at shoulder-height, palms facing each other. Move your arms apart and out to the sides as far as you comfortably can. Hold for five seconds, return to start and repeat 10 times two to three times per day.
4. Resisted External Rotation
External rotation exercises strengthen the external rotator muscles in the shoulder which weaken with inactivity. Do this exercise by standing tall with arms by your sides and elbows bent to 90 degrees.
Hold a resistance band in each hand in front of you. Wrap the band around the hand of the non-injured arm to act as an anchor. With your elbow staying by your side, rotate the hand of the injured arm out to the side as far as you can go while maintaining tension on the band. Return to start and repeat 10 times, or until fatigued, for three sets in total.