Fractures can occur in numerous parts of the shoulder with typical symptoms including sudden intense pain, loss of mobility, swelling, numbness, bruising and sensitivity to touch. The following are the most commonly fractured areas of the shoulder, which are treated by Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine:
Clavicle – Also known as the collarbone, the clavicle attaches the arm to the body. Typically, fractures to the clavicle occur at its center rather than its connecting points as a result of a direct blow or fall. Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine usually recommends conservative treatment for clavicle fractures, which often includes a shoulder sling or clavicle strap.
Proximal humerus – The proximal humerus, which is the head of the humerus where it connects to the scapula, is a commonly fractured bone among older individuals, particularly those affected by osteoporosis. While fractures of the proximal humerus can be excruciatingly painful, they are typically treatable without surgery unless the bone fragments have been displaced.
Depending on numerous factors, including the severity of the fracture, age of the patient, dominance of the wrist and/or hand that is afflicted, and whether or not the fracture was influenced by internal factors such as osteoarthritis, Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine will recommend different treatment options.
Scapula – The scapula, better known as the shoulder blade, is less frequently fractured than other bones of the shoulder, typically requiring a high velocity force to occur, such as that resulting from a motor vehicle collision. Scapular fractures can occur in the head, neck, glenoid, acromion, or coracoid of the bone and are normally treated using a sling for immobilization followed by physical therapy to improve its range of motion.
Treatment of fractures depends on the severity of the injury. If the fracture is minimally displaced or non-displaced treatment options include bracing or the use of a brace often supplemented by physical therapy. The ultimate goal of bracing is to allow the fracture to heal naturally and cause no further damage. Bracing options can include a shoulder sling or clavicle strap. Physical therapy is used to ensure that the muscles in the affected area do not experience atrophy and full range of motion is restored.
For fractures of the clavicle or scapula where casting may not be an option, Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine utilizes a sling to immobilize the affected area and allow the fracture to heal.
Displaced fractures or multi-fragmented fractures impact range of mobility and require further intervention. Surgery is a treatment option often utilizing structural aids such as pins, wires, screws, plates, sutures or a combination of these methods. If the affected bone is not able to regain its original shape a bone graft or artificial replacement may be necessary.