Humerus Fracture Treatment, Humerus Bone Fractures Surgery | Fractured Humerus Healing Time, Recovery and Symptoms
The humerus is the bone of the upper arm and it connects to the shoulder and to the elbow. This is such a strong and large bone because this is where the biceps and triceps are attached. However, it can still be prone to injury such as breakage, which is usually caused by direct blow to the upper arm or from accidents such as high-impact falls or collisions.
There are three types of fractures of humerus and each type requires careful medical attention because the role of the humerus bone is to carry all the weight of the whole arm.
• Proximal Humerus Fractures. This is the fracture, which occurs near the joint where the humerus bone and the shoulder bones are joined. What is fractured here is the ball end point of the humerus bone where the shoulder is attached.
• Mid-Shaft Humerus Fractures. This type of fracture occurs between the middle of the humerus joint and the elbow joints. Because the fracture is located almost on the middle of the upper arm bone, some fractures can heal without the need for surgery. However, severely fragmented mid-shaft humerus fractures always require surgery to prevent internal complications especially when the large radial nerve that goes through the arm is also damaged. Without proper medical attention the use of the wrist and the hand is at stake.
• Distal Humerus Fractures. The fractures occur almost near to the elbow joint and most of the times this require surgery especially if bones are not already in proper position. Although this type of fracture is uncommon to adults, this is now becoming common to children so they will undergo different treatment procedures.
Fracture Humerus Diagnosis
When you suspect that you have a humerus fracture, you should go to the hospital right away because the radial nerve that is in the arm supplies blood to the whole arm. The doctor will conduct physical diagnosis and will check for edema or swelling of the arm and if there are bruises, this can indicate an internal fracture. Severe and dislocated fractures normally show deformity on the arm and there could be muscle spasms as well. The doctor will ask the person to raise his arm so that he can rule out bone damage. Neurologic testing of the muscles of the arm will also be conducted as well as electromyography to check on possible nerve damage. The x-rays or CT scans will further support the doctor’s findings and he will then decide on what would the next procedure for the treatment would be.
There are many ways in which humerus fractures can occur but so far the following are the most common causes:
• Proximal humeral fractures are often caused by fall from a motor vehicle, from the stairs or from high places where the person landed with an outstretched arm. Also, violent muscle contractions, shock from high-voltage electricity and trauma from sports can bring about this type of humerus fractures.
• With humeral diaphyseal fractures, the typical causes are falls from motor vehicles, from imbalanced standing, fall from high places and also from pathological factors such as osteoporosis and other bone degenerating diseases.
• Humerus stress fractures are often the result of aggravated activity that involved the use of the upper arm in throwing. They are considered mild fractures and they do not always require surgery.
One of the most common symptoms of humerus fracture is the loss of sensation or abnormal sensation on the back of the hand. If there is weakness in moving the wrist and the hand, it is most likely that the radial nerve that is wrapped around the whole arm bone is also damaged when the bone was fractured. The radial nerve is the major nerve that travels from the spinal cord to the humerus bone, down to the wrist and hand.
The most common symptoms of humerus fracture, however, are the following:
• Severe pain to the upper arm
• Swelling of the injured area and deformity in severe fracture
• Pain travels from the injured area up to the whole arm
• Changes in the sensation of the arm
• Fever and chills
Humerus Fracture Treatment
Majority of the cases of humerus fractures are easy to treat so in most cases, surgery is not needed. With the use of a sling or cast, the broken upper arm can heal in just a few months. However, surgery may be needed when the fracture triggered bone fragments and dislocated the bones out of position. The doctors will determine the acceptable surgery over the distance of the fracture to the joints. Most often, fractures that are near the elbow joints and shoulder may require surgery but when fractures occur at the center of the shaft, casting can be enough to correct the fracture.
For those who are suffering from osteoporosis, they must consult their doctors so they can avoid certain activities that may fracture their upper arm bones. Exercise programs for healthy adults must also be followed to strengthen the muscles that are enveloping the upper arm bone. Eating high calcium diet is also a good option, as well as the intake of calcium supplements for stronger bone density. For those who stay at home because of weak bodies, they must reduce all risks of falling, which means that all things that can trip them while walking inside the house should be rid of. For active individuals, although there are also pads to protect the upper arm bone it is better to pad the shoulders as well to protect the joint that joins the shoulder blade and the upper arm bone.
When to Call A Doctor
Whenever your arm hurts so badly after an accident, you should call a health care expert as soon as possible so that he can determine if you have a fractured humerus. Especially if you feel numbness or weakness in the lower part of your arm, this may indicate that there can be fracture in your arm that has affected the radial nerve. When this happens, do not hesitate to call medical help.