Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I got involved in a touch football game with my 20-something-year-old adult children and their friends. I admit I'm a little out of shape and probably too old for this kind of thing. I broke my collarbone when I fell during the game. It healed on its own, but I still have a clicking sensation with I move my arm. And there's a bump on top of the collar bone. What causes those two things?


Many people do heal from a broken clavicle (collarbone). They wear a sling for a while. They are told what shoulder and arm movements to avoid for a few weeks (up to a month). This type of nonoperative treatment is called conservative care. This is the traditional way to treat fractures of the clavicle. But not everyone gets better with conservative care. Studies show that there's a subgroup of patients for whom the results can be less than perfect. The bone doesn't heal, a problem called nonunion. In some cases, the bones knit together but not properly. This is called a malunion. In either case, the end result can be pain, decreased motion, and loss of shoulder function. The clicking sensation may be a signal that there is a nonunion fracture. The bump could be a deformity in the bone from a malunion or nonunion. The best way to find out for sure is to see an orthopedic surgeon. A simple X-ray may provide a quick and easy answer. In some cases, additional imaging studies with CT scans, MRIs, duplex scanning, or arteriography may be needed. L.A. Kashif Khan, BSc(Hons), MRCSEd, et al. Current Concepts Review: Fracture of the Clavicle. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. February 2009. Vol. 91. No. 2. Pp. 447-460.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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