Floating Shoulder

(Ipsilateral Fractures of the Clavicle and Scapular Neck)


A floating shoulder injury is when two of the shoulder bones are broken. The clavicle bone (collarbone) and the upper part of the scapula bone (shoulder blade) break. These breaks cause the shoulder to pull out of place and look like it is floating.
Bones of the Shoulder
shoulder anatomy
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Floating shoulder injuries are typically caused by severe trauma like what might occur in a car accident. You will likely be taken to an emergency room. You will be evaluated from head to toe. If you are experiencing shoulder pain or your shoulder looks out of place, your doctor will look for a floating shoulder injury.Floating shoulder injuries are rare. They are caused by a high-impact trauma. Specific injuries may be the result of:
  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Fall from a height
  • Gunshot wound
  • Crush injury
  • Bicycle accident
Shoulder Injury During Car Crash
car accident shoulder injury
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Risk Factors

A floating shoulder injury is a result of an accident or trauma. There are no known risk factors.


Symptoms may include:
  • Severe shoulder pain
  • Muscle spasm
  • Injured arm hangs lower than unaffected arm
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Numbness or weakness

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