I have a client who recently broke his collarbone. I was wondering what kind of precautions I should take with him when he starts training again. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Breaking a collarbone is one of the most painful injuries a person can sustain. It usually happens when a person falls onto an outstretched hand. A number of precautions and guidelines should be followed when rehabilitating this injury. Active movement is needed every day during the healing process to avoid ending up with a limited range of motion. This movement should involve using the normal range of motion patterns in the joints of the hand, wrist and elbow of the affected arm. Hand therapy balls and therapeutic putty are two good tools to use to help maintain hand and forearm strength. Next, your client should actively abduct, flex, extend and rotate the shoulder as much as possible. Make sure not to go beyond the limits of pain for the individual.
Work on increasing the range of motion until full range is achieved. An orthopedic doctor needs to clear the individual to return to sports once the injury has been successfully rehabilitated. The doctor may also prescribe a brace to be worn by your client to support the shoulder. (The Vulcan and Donjoy braces are two types of braces available to help stabilize the shoulder joint.) Ice, an ACE compression bandage and a pain relief gel may be used during the rehab process to help speed up recovery.
One thing to mention about a broken collarbone is, on rare occasions, a fragment of bone can cause damage to blood vessels in the chest. A doctor should be consulted if this occurs.