What is the Difference Between Clavicle and Collarbone

The clavicle is the bone which joins the shoulder blade and the breast bone. It is a horizontally located long bone, and collarbone refers to the same bone. Therefore, there is no difference between clavicle and collarbone.

There are two clavicles in the body: one in the left and the other on the right. They make up the shoulder girdle or pectoral girdle along with the shoulder blade, connecting to the arm or the upper limb on each side. Also, the location of the collarbone is touchable in people with less fat in their bodies.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Clavicle 
     – Definition, Characteristics 
2. What is Collarbone
     – Definition, Anatomy, Function
3. What are the Similarities Between Clavicle and Collarbone
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Clavicle and Collarbone
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Clavicle, Collarbone, Scapula, Shoulder Girdle, Sternum

What is Clavicle

The clavicle is the technical term for the collarbone, which is the prominent bone at the top of the chest between the shoulder and the neck. The two clavicles form half of the shoulder girdle, encircling the upper chest like a collar. Therefore, they are also known as collarbones.

What is the Difference Between Clavicle and Collarbone

Figure 1: Clavicle – Superior View

What is Collarbone

Collarbone refers to either of the pairs of bones joining the breast bone to the shoulder blades.

Anatomy

The collarbone is a slender bone with the shape of an ‘S’. It consists of large double curves. The three parts of the collarbone are the sternal (medial) end, shaft, and the acromial (lateral) end. Moreover, there is a large facet in the sternal end of the bone. It articulates with the manubrium of the sternum or the breast bone, forming the sternoclavicular joint (SC joint). Also, another rough oval depression occurs in the inferior surface of the sternal end for the costoclavicular ligament, a ligament of the SC joint. The main function of the shaft of the collarbone is to serve as a point of origin for several muscles including deltoid, trapezius, pectoralis major, subclavius, sternocleidomastoid, and sternohyoid muscles.

Difference Between Clavicle and Collarbone

Figure 2: Clavicle – Anatomy

Moreover, a small facet occurs at the end of the acromial end of the collarbone, articulating with the acromion of the scapula or the shoulder bone at the acromioclavicular joint. On the other hand, the acromial end provides attachment points for both conoid ligament and trapezoid line. The conoid tubercle is the attachment point for the conoid ligament while the trapezoid ligament is the attachment point for the trapezoid ligament. However, the conoid ligament is the medial part of the coracoclavicular ligament while the trapezoid ligament is the lateral part of the coracoclavicular ligament. Additionally, the coracoclavicular ligament is a strong structure responsible for the effective suspending of the weight of the upper limb through the collarbone.

Main Difference - Clavicle and Collarbone

Figure 3: Shoulder Girdle

Function

The collarbone performs three functions. They are the attachment of the upper limb to the trunk by being a part of the shoulder girdle; transmission of the forces from the upper limb to the axial skeleton, and protecting the underlying neurovascular structures supplying the upper limb.

Clinical Relevance

The relative size of the clavicle is responsible for its susceptibility to fracture. The fall onto the shoulder and onto an outstretched hand are the most common mechanisms of clavicle injury. Generally, after a fracture, the lateral end of the bone is displaced interiorly due to the weight of the upper limb. Also, the medial end of the bone can be pulled superiorly by the sternocleidomastoid muscle.

Similarities Between Clavicle and Collarbone

  • Clavicle and collarbone are two names used to describe the only horizontal long bone in the body.
  • Both occur in pairs.
  • Also, both join the shoulder blade and the breast bone.

Difference Between Clavicle and Collarbone

  • There is no difference between clavicle and collarbone. They are the prominent bones on each side of the top of the chest.

Conclusion

The clavicle is the bone joining the shoulder blade and the breast bone. A pair of clavicles occurs on each side of the chest. They are involved in the formation of the shoulder girdle, which connects the arms to the trunk of the body. However, collarbone is another term to the clavicle. Therefore, there is no significant difference between clavicle and collarbone.

References:

1. “The Clavicle.” TeachMeAnatomy, 7 Aug. 2018, Available Here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Clavicle – superior view” By Anatomography – en:Anatomography (CC BY-SA 2.1 jp) via Commons Wikimedia    
2. “Gray201″ By Henry Vandyke Carter – Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body, Bartleby.com: Gray’s Anatomy, Plate 201 (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia  
3. “Pectoral girdles-en” By Original by National Cancer Institute; SVG by Mysid – Vectorized in Inkscape by User:Mysid (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia  

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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