Return to sport following clavicle fractures: a systematic review

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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.

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