What is a Shoulder Fracture?
The shoulder is a large joint where three bones come together: the scapula (shoulder blade), the clavicle (collarbone), and the humerus (arm bone). They are held together by a complex network of soft tissue, which includes ligaments, tendons, and muscles. A shoulder fracture is a break in one of the three bones. It is most often caused by some sort of trauma, such as a fall, car accident, or sports injury. However, the arm bone or the collarbone are more likely to break than the scapula.
A shoulder fracture is different from a shoulder dislocation. A dislocation happens when one of the bones is pushed or pulled out of position. This usually happens to the arm bone.
Most shoulder fractures are caused by:
- Falls, especially in children or the elderly or during high-speed sports, such as skiing
- A blow or impact on the field of play or during an automobile accident
- Tumors or growths which may weaken the bone
Diagnosis and Tests
Treatments & Prevention
Your treatment plan will depend on the severity of your injury and your overall health. In general, you can expect the following:
- The doctor will position the ends of the bones so that they heal in a natural position.
- Your arm and shoulder will likely be placed in a sling and “figure 8” wrap to keep it from moving.
- You may be prescribed physical therapy to strengthen the joint and restore your range of motion after the bones have healed.