Clavicle fractures, or broken collarbones, are among the most common injuries. In fact, clavicle fractures account for approximately 5 per cent of all adult fractures. Cyclists are particularly prone to clavicle fractures, with studies showing a prevalence of up to 16 per cent among cyclists.
Only about 5 to 10 per cent of clavicle fractures need surgery. Most can be treated with a simple sling. Patients may need prescription pain medication. Rest is important and rehabilitation treatment like physiotherapy may be necessary.
However, some clavicle fractures fail to heal, even with surgery. These are called nonunions, which can occur in up to 15 per cent of clavicle fractures. Nonunions are a particularly common post-surgery complication for a midshaft clavicle fracture, which accounts for 80 per cent of clavicle fractures.
Nonunion Fracture Treatment
Moreover, many studies suggest unsatisfactory outcomes and a high rate of nonunions following conservative treatment for clavicle fractures, with a 15 per cent complication rate in revision surgery for clavicle nonunions.
Shockwave therapy can treat clavicle nonunions without the need for surgery or drugs. Using acoustic pressure waves, shockwave therapy stimulates metabolism and circulation, boosting the body’s natural healing powers. Studies have shown success rates of up to 73 per cent when using shockwave therapy to treat long-bone nonunions after six months. Further, shockwave had no adverse effects in these studies, whereas surgery had a 7 per cent complication rate.
One case study that looked at an injured cyclist demonstrates shockwave’s effectiveness for treating clavicle fracture nonunions. The patient had a clavicle nonunion following screw and plate fixation. His visual analogue scale (VAS) was 40 mm in static and 60 mm in active, and his Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) functional score was forty-three.
Doctors gave the patient ten sessions of low-intensity shockwave therapy. No anesthesia was required, and no side effects occurred. At the fourth-month follow-up, the patient’s VAS was 0 mm in active and 10 mm in static, and his DASH score had decreased to seven. At the seven-month follow-up, both VAS and DASH were zero.
Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine analyzed the use of high-energy shockwave therapy for clavicle fractures compared to surgery. Researchers found that at the six-month follow-up, the shockwave group had a cure rate of 75 per cent compared to 71 per cent for the surgery group. Moreover, the surgery group had a 14 per cent complication rate compared to none for the shockwave group.
Researchers concluded that shockwave therapy is an effective treatment option for clavicle fractures that avoids surgery-related risks and complications. They also suggested that shockwave therapy can help lower healthcare costs by reducing the costs of materials and hospitalizations.
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To learn more about how shockwave therapy can treat nonunions and many other conditions call 1 (888) 741-SHOC(7462) or visit our website.