Shoulder Fractures

What is a Shoulder Fracture?

The shoulder joint is made up of three bones that link together- the humerus (the arm bone), the clavicle (collarbone), and scapula (shoulder blade) at the glenoid (socket). When an individual experiences a shoulder fracture, one of these bones may be damaged, affecting the functioning of the entire shoulder. Shoulder fractures can result from a fall, car accident, sports contact injury, or any type of trauma to your shoulder.

Types of Shoulder Fractures

Shoulder fractures are classified into three types. All three types of shoulder fractures can trigger shoulder pain, swelling, tenderness, and inflammation, and limit the shoulders’ range of motion. Here are the three types of shoulder fractures:

1. Clavicle Fracture

The most common type of shoulder fracture is known as the clavicle fracture (collarbone), which usually results from a fall.

2. Proximal Humerus Fracture

This is a fracture of the upper part of the arm, which could result from cracks in the bone. This is more common in individuals that are 65 years of age or older.

3. Scapula Fractures

A fracture of the scapula bone (shoulder blade) is rare but is generally the outcome from a traumatic incident such as a car accident or an extreme fall.

Symptoms of a Shoulder Fracture

Some of the symptoms for all types of shoulder fractures include shoulder pain, swelling, tenderness, a deformity or bump at the site of the fracture, discoloration or bruising around the upper arm, and inability to normally move the arm without pain. If you have any of these symptoms, an x-ray will possibly be performed to define the type and gravity of the injury.

Treatment for a Shoulder Fracture

Treatment for a shoulder fracture can differ based on each patient’s analysis and individual situation. The most common treatment used is a simple sling or Ultrasling IV worn for three to eight weeks (depending on the extent of the fracture and pain). Another method of treatment for a shoulder fracture is surgery. Shoulder surgery is most common when the injury involves displaced bone fragments.  The choice of treatment varies based on an array of factors such as the patient’s activity level, the locations of the fracture, and the severity of the fracture.

Shoulder Fracture Treatment in Illinois

Dr. Roger Chams, M.D. is a board-certified sports medicine and orthopedic surgeon who specializes in rehabilitation of the shoulder and knee. Upon diagnosis