From ArticleWorld

The clavicle is a long, slightly S-shaped bone that pairs with another clavicle in the upper chest that helps to stabilize the shoulder joint.


The clavicle has two bony insertions. In the middle of the chest, the clavicle inserts into (connects with) the sternum. Laterally, the clavicle, along with the acromial process of the scapula, forms part of the “socket” that the humerus connects to at the shoulder.

Several muscles are attached to it. The deltoid muscle is one of the large muscles that raise the upper arm at the shoulder. It attaches to the deltoid tubercle on the clavicle. The inferior surface of the clavicle has a groove into which the sublavius muscle attaches. The short head of the biceps and the coracobrachialis muscle also attach to the lateral aspect of the clavicle.

Because the clavicle moves only a little, two ligaments attach to other bones to give it stability. The coracoclavicular ligament has two portions. The part of the ligament that attaches laterally is called the trapezoid ligament, while the medial attachment is called the conoid ligament. Both of these ligaments attach the clavicle to the scapula.


The clavicle, as mentioned, serves to stabilize the shoulder joint. It also protects the nerves and vessels as they pass beneath it to the upper arm. Because the clavicle is relatively rigid, it can absorb some of the impact that the upper arm might receive in a fall or other injury.


The most common injury to the clavicle is a fracture. Any injury to the shoulder that results in forward (internal) rotation of the shoulder can be sufficient to fracture the clavicle. Clavicle fractures are common and are generally treated by keeping the shoulder stable while the fracture heals. Injuries to the shoulder can also result in an acromioclavicular dislocation, where the acromial head of the scapula pulls away from the clavicle. Similarly, the attachment of the clavicle to the sternum can be disrupted in what is called a sternoclavicular dislocation.