Return to sport following clavicle fractures: a systematic review

Br Med Bull. 2016 Sep;119(1):111-28. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldw029. Epub 2016 Aug 22.


Introduction: This review aims to provide information on the return rates and return times to sport following clavicle fractures.

Sources of data: A systematic search of Medline, EMBASE, CINAHAL, Cochrane, Web of Science, PEDro, SPORTDiscus, Scopus and Google Scholar was performed using the keywords 'clavicle', 'clavicular', 'fractures', 'athletes', 'sports', 'non-operative', 'conservative', 'operative', 'return to sport'.

Areas of agreement: Twenty-three studies were included: 10 reported on mid-shaft fractures, 14 on lateral fractures. The management principles for athletic patients were to attempt non-operative management for undisplaced fractures to undertake operative intervention for displaced lateral fractures and to recommend operative intervention for displaced mid-shaft fractures.

Areas of controversy: The optimal surgical modality for mid-shaft and lateral clavicle fractures.

Growing points: Operative management of displaced mid-shaft fractures offers improved return rates and times to sport compared to non-operative management. Suture fixation and non-acromio-clavicular joint (ACJ)-spanning plate fixation of displaced lateral fractures show promising results.

Areas timely for developing research: Future prospective studies should aim to establish the optimal treatment modalities for clavicle fractures.

Keywords: clavicle; fracture; rate; return; sport; time.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy
  • Bone Plates
  • Clavicle / injuries*
  • Clavicle / pathology
  • Conservative Treatment / methods*
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods*
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / rehabilitation
  • Fractures, Bone / rehabilitation*
  • Fractures, Bone / therapy
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Period
  • Return to Sport / statistics & numerical data*
  • Treatment Outcome