A proximal humerus fracture is a type of broken bone that occurs near the shoulder. It can be quite painful and may require surgery to repair.
In this blog post, I will discuss helpful information about proximal humerus fractures: symptoms, causes, and treatment options.
What is a proximal humerus fracture and what are the symptoms?
A proximal humerus fracture is a type of broken bone that occurs near the shoulder. With this injury, there can be different types of fractures which include:
Displaced: the bone is broken into two or more pieces and has moved out of place
Non-displaced: the bone is cracked but has not moved out of place
Comminuted: the bone is broken into three or more pieces
Symptoms include pain, swelling, and bruising in the affected area. You may also have difficulty moving your arm or feel a grating sensation when you try to move it. If the break is severe, you may also experience numbness or tingling in your arm.
What are the causes of proximal humerus fractures?
Proximal humerus fractures can be caused by a fall onto an outstretched hand, direct trauma to the shoulder, or a rotational force exerted on the arm (such as during a car accident). They are more common in older adults due to weakened bones from osteoporosis.
How are proximal humerus fractures diagnosed?
Proximal humerus fractures are diagnosed with a physical examination and imaging tests.
How are proximal humerus fractures treated?
Treatment for a proximal humerus fracture depends on the severity of the break. For minor fractures, you may only need to wear a sling or shoulder immobilizer to keep your arm in place while it heals. More severe fractures may require surgery to insert metal plates and screws into the bone to hold it together.
Physical therapy is also often necessary to regain range of motion and strength in the affected arm.
What is the prognosis for someone who has suffered a proximal humerus fracture?
The prognosis for a proximal humerus fracture is generally good, especially if you receive prompt and proper treatment. Most people make a full recovery within four to six months.
If you think you may have suffered a proximal humerus fracture, it is important to see an orthopedic surgeon right away. Because of the complexity of the shoulder joint, it’s best to see a surgeon who specializes in shoulders.
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