Name of bone



The clavicle is a doubly curved short bone that connects the arm (upper limb) to the body (trunk). It is located directly above the first rib, and it acts as a strut to keep the scapula in position so the arm can hang freely. Medially, it articulates with the manubrium of the sternum (breast-bone) at the sternoclavicular joint. At its lateral end it articulates with the acromion of the scapula (shoulder blade) at the acromioclavicular joint. It has a rounded medial end and a flattened lateral end.

From the roughly pyramidal sternal end, each clavicle curves laterally and posteriorly for roughly half its length. It then forms a smooth posterior curve to articulate with a process of the scapula (acromion). The flat, acromial end of the clavicle is broader than the sternal end. The acromial end has a rough inferior surface that bears prominent lines and tubercles. These surface features are attachment sites for muscles and ligaments of the shoulder.

Muscle and ligament attachments

Muscles and ligaments that attach to the clavicle include the following:

Attachment on clavicle


Other attachment

Superior surface and anterior border

Deltoid muscle

Deltoid tubercle, anteriorly on the lateral third

Superior surface

Trapezius muscle

Posteriorly on the lateral third

Inferior surface

Subclavius muscle

Subclavian groove

Inferior surface

Conoid ligament (the medial part of the coracoclavicular ligament)

Conoid tubercle

Inferior surface

Trapezoid ligament (the lateral part of the coracoclavicular ligament)

Trapezoid line

Anterior border

Pectoralis major muscle

medial third (rounded border)

Posterior border

Sternocleidomastoid muscle (clavicular head)

Superiorly, on the medial third

Posterior border

Sternohyoid muscle

Inferiorly, on the medial third

Posterior border

Trapezius muscle

Lateral third

Surface anatomy

Clavicle fractures are extremely common. Broken collarbones occur in babies (usually during birth), children and adolescents (because the clavicle does not completely ossify, or develop, until the late teens), and athletes (because of the risks of being hit or falling) and during many types of accidents and falls.


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Physical examination

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The clavicle varies more in shape than most other long bones. Occasionally, the clavicle is pierced by a branch of the supraclavicular nerve. The clavicle is thicker and more curved in manual workers, and the sites of muscular attachments are more marked. The right clavicle is usually stronger and shorter than the left clavicle.


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Figure 1. Clavicle


clavicle.png (image/x-png)