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Spine Case 13 Background

Clay Shoveler’s fracture is a stable spinous process avulsion fracture. It most commonly affects C7, but can occur anywhere from C6 to T3. This can be due to direct trauma, or an indirect mechanism such as extreme flexion, extension or rotation that causes snapping of ligaments and fracture of the spinous process at its weakest point - about 1/3 inch from the tip of the spinous process. There typically is immediate pain but these can also be asymptomatic and found incidentally years later during cervical spine imaging for other reasons.