Shoulder Frcture Overview
The collar bone, upper arm bone and shoulder blade are the three shoulder bones. A shoulder fracture occurs when one or more of the bones break, usually after a serious accident or injury. A Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) should see a shoulder fracture as soon as possible. An effective treatment plan is prescribed so the bone(s) can heal as quickly as possible.
Symptoms & Causes
Shoulder fracture symptoms include:
- A grinding sensation when the shoulder moves (crepitus)
- A visible shoulder lump
- Bruising, pain and swelling
- Decreased range of motion
- Difficulty raising the arm
The most common shoulder fracture causes are:
- Forceful blows to the shoulder
- High-speed collisions (including sports collisions)
- Motor vehicle accidents
Nonsurgical treatment options treat nondisplaced shoulder fractures (the bones are still anatomically aligned after the fracture). After a thorough evaluation, a CONA shoulder specialist may recommend:
- Immobilization in a comfortable sling
- Pain and anti-inflammatory medications
- Rest and ice\
Physical therapy may be prescribed after the fracture heals. Patients regain shoulder strength, flexibility and function during one-on-one physical therapy sessions.
Surgery is commonly recommended to treat displaced fractures (the bone is not anatomically aligned after the fracture). During an open reduction internal procedure (ORIF), a CONA specialist aligns and fixates the fractured bone(s).
X-rays are the most important part of a diagnosis. Multiple view x-rays show the CONA specialist the shoulder bones from different angles so a fracture can be diagnosed.