Only a few randomised, controlled studies have compared different non-operative methods of treatment of mid-shaft fractures of the clavicle. In this prospective, randomised controlled study of 60 participants (mean age 31.6 years; 15 to 75) we compared the broad arm sling with the figure of eight bandage for the treatment of mid-shaft clavicle fractures. Our outcome measures were pain, Constant and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons scores and radiological union. The mean visual analogue scale (VAS) pain score on the first day after treatment was significantly higher (VAS 1 6.8; 4 to 9) in the figure of eight bandage group than the broad arm sling group (VAS 1 5.6; 3 to 8, p = 0.034). A mean shortening of 9 mm (3 to 17) was measured in the figure of eight bandage group, versus 7.5 mm (0 to 24) in the broad arm sling group (p = 0.30). The application of the figure of eight bandage is more difficult than of the broad arm sling, and patients experience more pain during the first day when treated with this option. We suggest the broad arm sling is preferable because of the reduction of early pain and ease of application.
Keywords: figure of 8 bandage; midshaft clavicle fractures.
©2015 The British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery.