Shoulder Fractures (Glenoid, Scapula, Proximal Humerus)
The shoulder is a pretty resilient part of the body⎯until it’s hit with strong force or a direct blow. Then it can break one or more of these areas: glenoid (shallow cavity), scapula (shoulder blade) and humerus (upper arm bone). A fracture of the head of the humerus – the “ball” of the shoulder’s ball-and-socket.
Causes & Triggers
This type of fracture can be caused by direct trauma to the shoulder. It commonly affects elderly people whose bones have been weakened by osteoporosis.
- Blunt-force trauma
- Direct blow
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms include severe pain, swelling, and inability to move the arm.
- Apparent deformity
- Limited ability or inability to move shoulder
Tips & Treatment
Treatment options depend on the severity of the fracture. If the bones have not shifted, the fracture may be treated with a sling. If the bones have become displaced, surgery is needed to realign and anchor the bones or to replace the joint.
- Because the chest bones and muscles protect it, the scapula is not easily fractured.
- Surgery is not usually required for clavicle or proximal humerus fractures unless bones are displaced.
- Treatment of glenoid fractures varies, so seek the medical evaluation and opinion of a well-qualified orthopedic specialist.