Abstract Background The severity of symptoms, rate and completeness of recovery after closed treatment of the fractured clavicle has not been fully explored. Methods The severity and duration of pain, analgesic requirements, ability to perform daily activities, return to work, driving and sport along with appearance of the shoulder were recorded in 56 patients between 1 and 2 years after fracture. Radiographs were assessed by Robinson’s classification . Results Twenty-two out of 56 patients described functional restriction 1–2 years after injury. The majority of patients ceased to experience pain (34/56) and returned to work (19/46) within 3 months. Thirty-eight out of 56 patients noted cosmetic deformity, the severity of which was associated with worse functional outcome (p = 0.002). The degree of fracture displacement was associated with cosmetic deformity (p = 0.02) and functional outcome (p = 0.015). Conclusion The majority of patients perceive a cosmetic deformity and 22/56 impaired function after clavicular fracture.