Shoulder-Prox-Humerus                                      Shoulder-Humeral-Shaft-Fx-225x300

                   “Proximal Humerus” Fracture                                                                                    “Humerus Shaft” Fracture

Symptoms (“Fracture” = Broken Bone)

You’ll usually know if you’ve broken a bone, because there may be a snap or cracking sound and extreme pain with any movement. The bone may look deformed, swollen or bruised.

What is it?

  • Common fractures in the shoulder include the clavicle, proximal humerus (just below the ball) and humeral shaft. Scapula fractures are rare.
  • A “non-displaced” fracture is cracked, but not out of alignment. If “displaced,” the fracture may have to be set or need surgery to heal properly.
  • Bone takes about 8 weeks to heal solidly, but within 2 weeks the bone starts to stablilize and you’ll start moving your shoulder to prevent stiffness

Treatment

  • First-aid to stabilize the injured part in a sling or strap, control pain.
  • XRays are usually taken at 1 and 2 weeks after injury to check if the bones have moved out of place.
  • If the break is out of place or unstable, it might need surgery.
  • You’ll usually wear the sling (for humerus fractures) or figure-of-8 strap (for clavicle fractures) for 4-6 weeks.
  • You’ll start some gentle range-of-motion exercises soon after the injury then move on to strengthening/stabilization rehab 6-8 weeks later.
  • Complex fractures, like those that require shoulder replacement, are referred to subspecialist colleagues.

Osteoporosis/Fragility Fractures

Often, a humerus fracture after a fall is a patient’s first sign of osteoporosis.  If your bones are weak, it doesn’t take much to break them.  Breaks from low-energy injuries are called fragility fractures.

Read more about Osteoporosis.

Info from AAOS