Proximal Humerus Fracture (Broken Shoulder)

This painful condition is a fracture of the head of the humerus - the "ball" of the shoulder's ball-and-socket. It is usually the result of sudden trauma or age-related injury.

What You Need To Know About Proximal Humerus Fractures

What Is A Proximal Humerus Fracture?

A proximal humerus fracture is a technical term for any broken bone or shoulder fracture in the ball portion of the shoulder's ball and socket joint. A humerus fracture can include the scapula (shoulder blade), clavicle (collarbone), or the upper arm (proximal humerus).

In your shoulder, there is a bone structure known as the ball-and-socket joint. The interconnected parts allow for smooth and easy arm movement. However, when this connection is disturbed, it can make movement difficult.

Breaks to the ball component of the joint are usually the result of blunt trauma. Common culprits of this condition include motor vehicle accidents or severe fall. Proximal humerus fracture requires medical care from an experienced shoulder specialist.

Schedule an appointment with the experts at Resurgens Orthopaedics now. With over 24 Metro Atlanta locations, it's never been easier to find the care you need.

Causes of Humerus Fractures

There are many causes of humerus fracture. Often a proximal humerus fracture is caused by direct trauma to the shoulder. Trying to break your fall with an outstretched hand — or a sudden pull on your shoulder area — can increase the severity of your fall.

People with osteoporosis are more likely to experience a partially dislocated shoulder or a shoulder fracture. This is because their weakened bone strength makes them more susceptible to negative effects from falling. Even slightly tripping can cause a proximal humerus fracture.

Common causes of humerus fracture include:

  • Falls, especially from significant heights

  • Forceful trauma to the shoulder area

  • Car accident or other sudden movements

Humerus Fracture Symptoms

Symptoms of a broken shoulder can include:

  • Severe pain

  • Bruising and swelling

  • Loss of normal use of the arm or injury

  • Bleeding or open wounds

  • Grinding or snapping sensation when moving shoulder

How Is A Humerus Fracture Diagnosed?

Only a shoulder fracture expert can diagnose the cause of your pain. During your visit to Resurgens Orthopaedics, you will be asked questions about your medical history. Be prepared to answer questions about when you first started feeling pain. Your doctor may need to ask you to demonstrate activities that cause mild irritation, so be prepared to experience pain.

Additionally, diagnostic technology can help your doctor narrow down the causes of your pain. Your doctor will be able to use this information to create your own unique treatment plan.

Proximal Humerus Fracture Treatment

Treatment options for proximal humerus fracture vary depending on the severity of the injury. There are both surgical and non-surgical options for proximal humerus fracture treatment.

Non-Surgical Treatment

If the fractured bones haven't shifted, then your physician may recommend nonsurgical options. Wearing a sling or an immobilizing strap will keep your shoulder in a secure position while you heal. Additionally, personalized rehabilitation programs may be recommended to help restore shoulder function.

Surgical Treatment

More severe shoulder injuries may require surgical intervention. Procedures like ORIF Surgery for Proximal Humerus Fracture can help repair severe breaks in the proximal end of the humerus. This procedure augments existing bone structure with a metal component, allowing the humerus to heal.

Every injury is unique and no two patients require the same treatment. During your visit to Resurgens Orthopaedics, your physician will be able to advise you on the best course for your treatment. Schedule an appointment with a shoulder specialist near you now!