Shoulder Fracture Symptoms and Treatment (Q&A)

Shoulder Fracture Symptoms and Treatment (Q&A)


My name is Uma Srikumaran. I’m an orthopedic surgeon with Johns Hopkins and Howard County General Hospital. I specialize in shoulder surgery. A fracture involving a shoulder usually
involves a significant trauma such as falling onto your outstretched arm or maybe being involved in a car
accident. These injuries are extremely painful and can
limit your function immediately after the injury and can be confirmed with an x-ray. If you’re diagnosed with a fracture by
an emergency room on an urgent care center, you should see an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible so the appropriate treatment can be
started in a timely fashion. Some fractures may only require a sling
and physical therapy while others may require surgical intervention. Fractures can involve different portions of
the shoulder. Fractures can involve the proximal part of your arm or your proximal humerus or can involve the socket of the shoulder,
called the glenoid. Fractures can also vary in severity.
Some are simple breaks where the two bone pieces do not move relative to
each other – these are called minimally displaced or non-displaced fractures. Other fractures can be more severe and the bone can be broken into several
pieces. To ensure the best possible recovery
after a shoulder fracture you should see an orthopedic specialist to be evaluated. They’ll perform a physical examination and
order the necessary imaging studies to confirm the diagnosis and determine the
fracture severity. After diagnosis has been made you can
have a discussion with your orthopedic surgeon regarding treatment options and discuss the relative risks and benefits
of each approach. The surgical repair for a shoulder
fracture involves an open surgery generally under general anesthesia, also with the nerve block. The surgery is an open surgery and is a ten to twelve centimeter incision in the front of your shoulder. The pieces of
bone are carefully realigned and fixed with a metal plate and screws.
In some cases the fracture may be so severe or the bone quality so poor that the metal fixation can not hold. In these
cases a metal prosthesis will be used to reconstruct the shoulder. Recovery from surgery for a shoulder fracture involves a 1-2 day hospital admission followed by
outpatient physical therapy. Depending on the type of surgery you’ve had,
physical therapy will start with gentle range of motion exercises initially
performed by the therapist, or passive range of motion, followed by active range of motion exercises
performed by the patient. When range of motion is restored, strengthening
exercises will begin. This typically occurs after the bone has
healed in three to four months.

10 Replies to “Shoulder Fracture Symptoms and Treatment (Q&A)”

  1. Hi respected doctor
    Just want to know my younger brother sholder was broken at the age of 5 years old and fixed by doctor but after few months realize that its not fixed then doctor check it again and said we have surgery but he is too young bring it when he is 10 years old but after that we dnt bring him to surgery now he is 25 years old
    His fingers move but sholder cant carry even arm is slim then right one
    Please need to know if it can be fix?

  2. 2 years back me shoulder was so pain due to the small accidents
    I go to hosptial they scan me and take x ray but they said nothing happen but when my hand is stretch shoulder is dislocated for 1 or 2 min then it return to normale position this problem till now
    Nowadays bone dislocated for 5 min

  3. i took 1 think when i was prob 17,i turned a corner moving way too fast 2 get a crying baby n bounced my shoulder off the wall,im 33 now n i get times where theres alot of pain and it puts pressure on my neck n head n its bad. Feel nauseaous it hurts so bad n get lots of pain n headaches from neck to head n i gotta sleep it off. Yesterday i had 1 such instance and its been like 24 hrs n i still got a headache n my neck hurts even after usual long rem sleep. If i get my arm to far behind my back like say a hammerlock it locks up totally n have 2 force it to work or it gets stuck. Any idea what im looking at for med options to fix this based on my symptoms described doc?

  4. So I have a question for you so I have a broken clavicle or shoulder and I never took surgery and it healed the wrong way and I feel ball of cartilage or two pieces of bone I don't know when i went the hospital and they took x-rays and all that stuff they basically told me that it is physically impossible to refix my broken clavicle because it healed the wrong way

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