What Causes a Clavicle Bone Lump?

Misty Wiser

A clavicle bone lump can be caused by a variety of conditions. The most common source of a lump over the clavicle bone is a healing bone fracture. Sometimes the lump is a lipoma, or a harmless fatty tumor that settles on top of the collarbone. If the bump is located at either end of the clavicle, it could be caused by damage from osteoarthritis (OA). Certain forms of cancer may cause lumps to develop over the clavicle, so any unidentified bumps should be evaluated by a physician to rule out a serious condition.

To avoid the formation of a clavicle bone lump, a sling can be used to help the bone heal properly.
To avoid the formation of a clavicle bone lump, a sling can be used to help the bone heal properly.

Most often, a clavicle bone lump is caused by a poorly healing break in the bone. The development of a small lump over the fracture site is frequently the only symptom of the injury. A clavicle bone fracture can occur during any type of vigorous physical activity or as a result of a fall. Newborn babies may suffer a clavicle fracture during a difficult birth. A baby that will not move one arm or cries when he is picked up should be seen by a doctor for appropriate medical care.

A human skeleton, including the clavicles in red.
A human skeleton, including the clavicles in red.

Extensive treatment of a clavicle fracture is typically not necessary for a newborn, and the clavicle will usually heal quickly on its own. Older children and adults may need to wear a sling to immobilize the affected arm and to help the fracture heal faster. Ice and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may help relieve any discomfort during the healing process. Compound clavicle fractures can require the surgical insertion of pins to stabilize the bone while it heals.

The presence of an aneurysmal bone cyst may require surgical removal.
The presence of an aneurysmal bone cyst may require surgical removal.

A small lump over the clavicle may be caused by a tumor formed from fatty tissue. The lump can usually be moved with slight pressure and is not painful. It does not require removal unless it is perceived to be unsightly, and then it can be removed during an outpatient procedure.

The clavicle, also called the collar bone, connects the shoulder to the sternum.
The clavicle, also called the collar bone, connects the shoulder to the sternum.

Occasionally, a clavicle bone lump is a sign of re-occurring breast cancer. It develops on or near the clavicle, and is later determined to be in one of the lymph nodes. Early evaluation of any lump found on the body can contribute to a favorable prognosis if cancer is later detected.

Another condition that causes a clavicle bone lump is aneurysmal bone cyst. It can be diagnosed after a computerized tomography (CT) scan is taken. Most physicians will recommend the surgical removal of the cyst. If there has not been any re-growth of the aneurismal bone cyst within two years, it is not likely to develop again.

A clavicle bone lump may occasionally be a sign of recurring breast cancer.
A clavicle bone lump may occasionally be a sign of recurring breast cancer.

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Discussion Comments


My seven-year-old old has a large lump on his collar bone. It doesn't move and feels like a bone. He's not in any pain and he hasn't been sick. It's right where the two collar bones meet under the neck on the left side.


@literally45: I too, discovered a lump on my clavicle bone at the throat end by chance. I just happened to touch that part of my throat area and there it was; a lump neither I nor my primary care doctor had noticed before. I had an X-ray this week and now the radiologist is recommending an MRI to further rule out anything serious. I am considering the MRI.

I have never broken my collar bone to the best of my knowledge so this is quite a surprise and somewhat disconcerting, too. Get yourself checked out.


I had a compound fracture of my clavicle in 1996 when I was 16. It was very serious. I was knocked down by large man who fell on top of me as I broke the fall for both of us once on a parked car and then on concrete.

He weighed 225 and I weighed 125 at that time. After I turned 22 in 2002, I went to a doctor and he said I had a floater and he suggested surgery which they would either rebreak my collar bone and align the bones again or just leave it the way it is.

It still hurts now and it seems like the part of the collar bone that it connects to are overlapped and the bone has continued to grow as if it's trying to reach the shoulder. Is that possible?


I have swelling and a very painful lump on my left clavicle. The doctor insisted I get it x-rayed. I have not heard from him and the hard lump continues to swell and become more painful.


I developed a very painful lump on my left clavicle about two weeks after being admitted to hospital for back pains. Doctors - and I mean several doctors - all dismissed it as being nothing serious. Eventually, after much insistence, I had a CT and was diagnosed with lung cancer. The lump and the back pains were directly linked to the cancer. Do not wait to get tested.


My dad has an egg size lump under his collarbone which is about four inches from the location where he had a large melanoma removed one year ago. Is this an indication the melanoma is back?


My daughter 25, has endometriosis and just discovered a very painful bump on her clavicle. What could it be? Any answer would be helpful.

@literally45 -- Please don't delay an appointment with the doctor. Whatever it may be, find out now, so that you can do what's necessary.

I don't want to scare you but a close friend of mine also discovered several small lumps on her collar bone a couple of years ago, along with a really odd symptom- itching. She wasn't too worried about it either but had it checked out immediately.

An ultrasound and biopsy later, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, cancer of white blood cells. Thankfully, it was still in the early stages and she beat it quickly. But if she had delayed the examination for a long time, the cancer could have entered a more dangerous stage.

@literally45 -- I have a lump on my collar bone that formed while it was healing. It was fractured in a car accident several years ago. A big lump formed right on top of the fracture and grew to a huge size. I didn't have surgery for my fracture and my recovery was long and painful. I was in physical therapy for a long time. The lump has gotten a little smaller but it's still there. My wife suggested that I get it removed but I don't mind it.

There is no way for you to know what's going on without getting examined. The collarbone can actually fracture easily in adults too. My doctor said another patient of his fractured it while coughing! So I think you would get an x-ray first to make sure that there isn't a fracture. If there is nothing there, then you'll probably get a CT scan to check for tumors.

Yes, the lump could be nothing important, but it could also be a tumor. Do you really want to take that risk? If I were you, I would go and get seen as soon as possible and find out the cause.


Last week, I discovered a soft lump on my clavicle bone by chance. I have not suffered from a fracture there in the past, nor do I have any history of cysts or tumors. The lump is also not painful. Has anyone had something similar to this before? If so, what did it turn out to be?

I will make an appointment in the next couple of weeks with my doctor although I'm not sure what all the doctor will have to do for a diagnosis. Do you think I should just leave it be for now and maybe it'll go away on its own? Does that ever happen?

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