Pain in the collarbone


Painful complaints in the area of ​​the collarbone can have various causes. You can basically choose between causes from the area of ​​the musculoskeletal system, such as injuries to the collarbone itself or adjacent structures, and diseases of the internal organs, such as Differentiate heart disease.

There are these causes

Pain in the collarbone can be caused by various diseases. These include:

  • musculoskeletal causes
  • break of collarbone
  • Broken ribs
  • Bruised ribs
  • Shoulder joint dislocation
  • Diaphragmatic hernia
  • Heart attack
  • pneumonia
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Vascular disease

Other accompanying symptoms

Accompanying symptoms depend on the underlying disease or injury. If the cause is muscle problems, those affected often have no other symptoms. In the case of broken collarbones or ribs, additional pain around the chest and a hematoma can occur. Difficulty breathing can also be accompanying symptoms. In the case of shoulder joint dislocations, patients experience shoulder pain and restricted mobility. Often part of the collarbone protrudes upwards, a so-called piano key phenomenon. In general, the movement of the arms can be restricted, as the muscles in the chest area move when you move.

A variety of symptoms can occur in severe internal illnesses. For example, if they have a heart problem, patients often have symptoms such as palpitations, high blood pressure, dizziness, anxiety and shortness of breath. The collarbone is a typical pain zone for injuries to the diaphragm. If the diaphragm breaks, it can lead to shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting.

What can bilateral pain in the collarbone indicate?

Pain on both sides of the collarbone is often a sign of an internal illness, such as a heart attack, pulmonary embolism or vascular disease. However, one should not always think directly about the worst, usually with additional symptoms. Musculoskeletal causes can also lead to pain on both sides, for example cramps in the neck or shoulder muscles.

What can one-sided pain in the collarbone indicate?

Unilateral pain usually indicates a unilateral injury. A shoulder joint explosion (AC explosion) typically leads to unilateral pain. This leads to a ligament tear in the shoulder joint and the so-called piano key phenomenon. Other shoulder injuries, such as impingement syndrome or shoulder osteoarthritis, can also cause unilateral symptoms. A bruise or a broken collarbone also causes pain on either side. Pinched vertebrae or ribs can also cause pain on one side only.

When does collarbone pain indicate a heart problem?

Pain in the collarbone can be the first sign of a heart attack. A heart attack is often indicated by a stinging sting in the chest and pain in the left shoulder up to the arm. The left shoulder belongs to the so-called "head zone" of the heart. This refers to skin areas in which pain occurs in diseases of internal organs. However, not all collarbone pain should suggest a heart attack. As a rule, other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, anxiety, rapid heartbeat etc. also occur in the event of a heart attack.

Read more on the subject at: Signs of a heart attack

Duration of pain in the collarbone

The duration of collarbone pain depends on the underlying condition or injury. In the case of severe internal illnesses, it can take a long time before the symptoms are relieved. A shoulder joint dislocation, collarbone fracture or similar injuries require surgery in most cases. After the operation, the healing time is several weeks, during which no sport is allowed.
In the case of minor injuries or musculoskeletal diseases, a duration of a few days to a week can be roughly assumed. In the case of vertebral entrapment, there is usually immediate symptom relief when the vertebra is reduced. Muscle complaints, for example after exercise, often only last a few hours after the end of physical activity.

break of collarbone

The broken collarbone is an extremely common injury, 15% of all broken bones are fractures of the collarbone! The reason for this lies in the anatomical fact that the collarbone lies directly under the skin without a large "protective pad" and thus direct or indirect violence, e.g. in the event of bicycle falls, is exposed practically unprotected. In most cases, the collarbone breaks in the middle area, as this is where its diameter is smallest and the outer parts are not only thicker, but are also stabilized by strong ligaments.

Indications of a broken collarbone as the cause of pain in the area of ​​the collarbone are, in addition to a fall or accident (in this case mainly indirect violence caused by falling on the outstretched arm), swelling and bruising above the collarbone. The patient also tends to keep the arm close to the body in a relieving position and it is difficult for him to lift the arm. All other movements in the shoulder joint are also felt to be extremely painful and may produce a crunch known as a crepitation sign. A step formation in the course of the bone under the skin can often be seen from the outside.

The diagnosis of a broken collarbone, because it is a bone injury, is made using x-rays. In this way, not only can the diagnosis be made, but the special type and location of the fracture can also be assessed and the first treatment options drawn up on this basis. If it is a possible medial fracture of the collarbone, i.e. towards the sternum, an additional CT examination can be useful, since bone injuries can easily be overlooked on X-rays due to superimposition effects.

Ankle joint dislocation

This term describes a "detonation" of the shoulder joint by direct or indirect force with resulting damage to the ligamentous apparatus.

Compared to a broken collarbone, the cause is one Ankle joint dislocation rather in direct violence, i.e. a fall on the shoulder. The pain lies further out in the shoulder or on the outer edge of the collarbone. In addition, there is also a swelling and Bruising as well as a relieving posture (turning the arm towards the body and holding the bent arm with the sound arm), since any kind of movement in the shoulder joint increases the pain.

Also a crunch when moving the shoulder joint (Crepitation mark) is conceivable. Injury to the ligamentous apparatus can cause the collarbone to slip out of the shoulder joint. In this case it sticks upwards and creates a clearly visible protrusion of the skin over the inside of the shoulder. In this way, the typical for shoulder joint dislocations "Piano key phenomenon“Explain: If you press the skin protrusion created by the shifted collarbone, the collarbone can be pushed down and snaps up again as soon as you let go of it - just like a piano key.

The diagnosis of an ankle joint dislocation is carried out by means of X-rays and to assess the soft tissues and the effusion by means of a Ultrasound examination. The latter has the advantage that it also simultaneously assesses the tendons of the muscles of the so-called Rotator cuff which are often also affected, especially in older patients.

Appointment with a shoulder specialist

I would be happy to advise you!

Who am I?
My name is Carmen Heinz. I am a specialist in orthopedics and trauma surgery in the specialist team of .

The shoulder joint is one of the most complicated joints in the human body.

The treatment of the shoulder (rotator cuff, impingement syndrome, calcified shoulder (tendinosis calcarea, biceps tendon, etc.) therefore requires a lot of experience.
I treat a wide variety of shoulder diseases in a conservative way.
The aim of any therapy is treatment with full recovery without surgery.
Which therapy achieves the best results in the long term can only be determined after looking at all of the information (Examination, X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.) be assessed.

You can find me in:

  • Lumedis - your orthopedic surgeon
    Kaiserstrasse 14
    60311 Frankfurt am Main

Directly to the online appointment arrangement
Unfortunately, it is currently only possible to make an appointment with private health insurers. I hope for your understanding!
You can find more information about myself at Carmen Heinz.

Broken rib

The main causes of broken ribs are direct violence in (bicycle) falls and traffic accidents. If more than two adjacent ribs are broken, one speaks of a series of ribs fractures. Only in the case of previous damage, for example in the context of osteoporosis, can fractures occur without an accident, e.g. from strong coughing. Rare but dangerous complications of a broken rib are injuries to the lungs, such as the pneumothorax; however, it usually remains with an isolated fracture of the rib.

A typical symptom of a broken rib is pain in the affected area, which increases with breathing. Since coughing is a form of particularly strong breathing movements from a functional point of view, it causes particularly severe pain. For reasons of protection, this circumstance can lead to superficial, ineffective breathing, which can lead to impaired oxygen supply, especially in older patients.

Since a broken rib is a bony injury, diagnosis is primarily made through x-rays. To assess whether the lungs are also affected in the form of a pneumothorax, an X-ray can be taken with the chest in the exhaled position. Ultimately, accompanying injuries to the surrounding organs and vessels can be excluded with an ultrasound examination.

In contrast to a broken rib, a bruised rib does not destroy the structural unity of the bone. Symptoms and examination options largely coincide with those of the broken rib, so that a reliable differentiation between the two injuries is only possible through an X-ray examination.

Pulmonary embolism

A Pulmonary embolism is the technical term for the closure of a blood vessel in the lungs by a thrombus (Blood clot). This thrombus usually arises in the leg veins (thrombosis), is finally washed away from there and reaches the pulmonary vessels via the heart.

A pulmonary embolism, if the affected vessel is in the upper part of the lungs, can simulate a disease of the collarbone, because pulmonary embolism also causes breathing-dependent chest pain. A typical symptom that distinguishes pulmonary embolism from bony injuries to the collarbone is severe Shortness of breath. In addition, sudden sweats or Racing heart, but also a fever.

If a pulmonary embolism is suspected, medical attention should be sought immediately. The doctor has a wide range of examination options, such as EKG, Perfusion scintigraphy or Pulomonalis angiography available, which can secure the diagnosis of a pulmonary embolism and thus enable the urgently needed therapy.

Diaphragmatic hernia

Surprisingly, diaphragmatic diseases can also cause pain in the collarbone area. The reason for this is the phenomenon of the so-called Head zones: Diseases of internal organs are projected onto areas of the skin in completely different places. This is due to the fact that the nerve cells that convey pain signals from the organ and the nerve cells that convey pain signals from the associated skin area are in the Spinal cord "Come close" and through this spatial proximity, a disease of the organ can "lead the patient to believe" a superficial disease in a completely different place. The head zone of the diaphragm is now in the area of ​​the roof of the shoulder and the collarbone.

The most common disease of the diaphragm is the diaphragmatic hernia. In the process, loops of the stomach or intestines pass up through weak points in the diaphragm and into the chest. In about 90% of the cases, one stays Diaphragmatic hernia asymptomatic. However, if there are symptoms, it can be easily differentiated from the other possible causes of pain in the area of ​​the collarbone thanks to the accompanying symptoms. In addition to swallowing difficulties and heartburn nausea and vomiting occur frequently. A feeling of fullness is also characteristic. In the case of larger diaphragmatic hernias, it can Racing heart come.

A reliable diagnosis and differentiation from other internal causes is carried out by the doctor with the help of a Gastroscopy or one X-ray, in front of which the patient looks at to increase the contrast containing contrast media Porridge swallows ("X-ray swallow“).

Pain under the collarbone

Pain under the collarbone can have different causes. The subclavius ​​muscle lies directly below the collarbone. He is often involved in arm or shoulder pain due to trigger points.

Below the collarbone are the tips of the lungs. Pneumonia in the tip can also lead to pain under the collarbone. In addition, there is usually shortness of breath, coughing and fever. Other lung diseases such as pleurisy or a lung tumor in the tip can cause symptoms. A broken collarbone can dislodge the ends of the fracture and injure the lungs. The result is often a pneumothorax. This can cause pain and shortness of breath.

Heart problems and vascular problems can also always lead to pain under the collarbone. In the case of heart attacks in particular, patients often complain of pain under the collarbone up to the left arm.

Pain in the collarbone and sternum

Pain in the collarbone and sternum can also be triggered by different diseases. The collarbone is connected to the breastbone. Entrapment in this joint can cause pain in this area. Breaks in the upper ribs can also cause pain in the collarbone and sternum. Pain can also be triggered by pleurisy (pleurisy). Those affected also complain of pain when breathing and coughing.
In general, heart disease, especially heart attack, and pulmonary embolism can also lead to pain in the collarbone and sternum.

Pain in the collarbone and shoulder

The collarbone is part of the shoulder joint. When the shoulder is injured, pain in the collarbone and shoulder occurs. In the case of a shoulder joint dislocation (AC joint rupture) For example, a ligament tear in the shoulder joint occurs. These ligaments usually hold the collarbone against the shoulder. The crack creates a step, which is also known as the piano key phenomenon.
Shoulder and collarbone pain can also be triggered by osteoarthritis of the shoulder. Degenerative changes lead to signs of wear and tear and pain when moving.

Read more on the subject at: Osteoarthritis of the shoulder

Pain in the collarbone when lifting the arm

When lifting the arm, the shoulder is the most important joint. The collarbone is also involved in the shoulder joint. When the arm is raised, the collarbone also moves upwards. If the collarbone is injured, it cannot move properly and causes severe pain. Shoulder joint dislocations or other injuries to the shoulder joint can also cause pain in the collarbone. In impingement syndrome, the tendon of the supraspinatus muscle becomes trapped, causing pain when the arm is raised over 90 °. These can often be felt up to the collarbone.

Read more on the subject at: Impingement Syndrome

Pain in the collarbone radiating to the neck

Pain in the collarbone can also spread to the neck. A fracture of the collarbone can displace the joints or muscles and pull the neck. The immediate vicinity can also injure the trapezius muscle. This has its origin in the cervical vertebrae and could lead to pain in the neck. Vertebral entrapment in the cervical spine can also cause pain that spreads to the collarbone.
Pain in the carotid artery is not typical for injuries to the collarbone or shoulder. But the other way around, pain in the carotid artery can lead to discomfort in the collarbone. In general, a heart attack can also trigger pain in the throat.

Pain in the collarbone when breathing

Breathing causes the chest to rise and fall, causing the ribs to widen. The collarbone forms a coherent complex with the breastbone, ribs, and shoulder so it also lifts when you breathe. Therefore, injuries to the collarbone can also cause discomfort. If there is a collarbone fracture, breathing leads to slight pressure being exerted on the collarbone, which can be very painful if the fracture is not completely healed. With pneumonia or pleurisy, there are also breathing difficulties, which are often noticeable, among other things, with pain in the collarbone.

Read more on the subject at: Painful breathing

Pain between your collarbone and chest

If there is pain between the collarbone and the chest, this can be an indication of a heart attack. Since the heart lies directly under the chest, pain often occurs there, which typically also radiates into the left shoulder and arm. An accident that resulted in a broken collarbone can also bruise the chest or fracture the ribs. These lead to pain in that area. Muscle complaints or torn tendons in the chest can also trigger pain between the chest and the collarbone.

Read more on the subject at: Symptoms of a heart attack