Pain in the collarbone or clavicle may indicate an injury or fracture of the collarbone stemming from a fall or direct contact with another object or person, explains WebMD. Collarbone pain could also indicate shoulder osteoarthritis, which often occurs in the AC joint, the point where the tip of the shoulder blade connects to the collarbone.
Shoulder osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage that tops the bones begins to wear down or degenerate, which causes swelling and pain that can extend to the collarbone, according to WebMD.
An injury to the collarbone may occur during sports such as football, wrestling or hockey, explains WebMD. People who are in a vehicle accident or have a direct blow to the collarbone may suffer from a fracture, which causes pain. Symptoms of a collarbone fracture include immediate pain following a hit or fall on the collarbone, a grinding feeling when lifting the arms, or an inability to raise one or both arms due to pain.
Physicians diagnose damage to a collarbone by examining the affected area while searching for a bump or lump near or on the collarbone, according to WebMD. Physicians also assess mobility in the shoulder and other joints and test the muscle strength of the shoulders. A thorough exam involves checking the patient's temperature, skin color and pulse to determine the cause of collarbone pain.