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Fractured clavicle in the newborn


A fractured clavicle in the newborn is a broken shoulder bone in a baby that was just delivered.

Alternative Names

Fractured collar bone - newborn


A fracture of a newborn's shoulder bone (clavicle) can occur during a difficult vaginal delivery. A fractured clavicle is fairly common during difficult births.


There is generally decreased movement of the arm on the side with the fractured clavicle. Lifting the baby under the arms causes the child pain. Sometimes the fracture can be felt with the fingers, but more often the problem can not be seen or felt.

Within a few weeks, a hard lump may develop where the bone is healing, and may be the only sign that the newborn had a fractured clavicle.

Exams and Tests

The baby will not move the painful, injured arm. Instead, the baby will hold it still against the side of the body. An infant's refusal to move an arm may also be due to nursemaid's elbow, nerve damage, infection, or other causes. If there is a question, a chest x-ray will show whether or not there is a fracture.


Generally, there is no treatment other than lifting the child gently to prevent discomfort. Occasionally, the arm on the affected side may be immobilized.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Full recovery occurs without treatment.

Possible Complications

There are usually no complications. Later in life, due to the excellent healing potential of infants, it may be impossible (even by x-ray) to tell that a fracture occurred.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if your baby acts uncomfortable when you lift him or her.

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