Shoulder Fracture Treatment | Shoulder Bone Fracture Surgery | Fractured Shoulder Symptoms, Recovery Time, Healing, Causes and More
Our shoulders are composed of the collarbone (clavicle), shoulder blade (scapula), and the upper arm bone (humerus). The clavicle is the only connection of the shoulder girdle that is connected to the skeleton. The role of the scapula is to serve as an anchor for the muscles and it has the sockets for the other bones of the shoulder to connect into. The humerus has the ball-like shape at its distal ends that is joined by the socket of the scapula and also serves as the joint for the arm muscles and tendons. If any of these bones are disrupted due to accidents or fall then what we got are shoulder fractures.
Types of shoulder fractures
Because we have three major bones in our shoulders, there can also be three different types of shoulder fractures.
• Clavicle fractures are the most usual of all the fractures of the shoulder and fracture can happen when something heavy and hard fall on the shoulder. These kinds of fractures are very painful and there would be difficulty in moving the arm.
• Scapula-Shoulder blade fractures are the result from high-impact trauma such as accidents or fall from certain heights. Because the shoulder blade is a delicate bone, a CT scan may be required to have an overall analysis of the fracture.
• Shoulder Joint fractures or the proximal humerus fractures are the result from falling that landed on the arm first resulting in shoulder dislocation. Dislocations of the ball sockets are the usual characteristics of these kinds of fractures.
The medical history will be inquired by the doctor and other condition that might be contributing to the pain. Physical examination will be conducted as well. The doctor will feel the injury and will ask the patient to move his arms if there are limits to their movements. Moreover, a more systematic review will be relevant to find any information that might be related to the shoulder injury. First, an x-ray will be taken to confirm shoulder fracture and then an injection of contrast fluid will be injected into the shoulder to outline structures of the bone. This process is called an arthrogram. MRI may also be needed to produce series of cross-sectional images and other diagnostics might follow.
Causes Of Bone Injury
One of the most common causes is falling from heights and because the ball of the upper arm is bigger than the shoulder socket that supports it, fracture can easily occur. Other usual causes are from overusing the shoulder such as when the person lifts weights on his shoulder repeatedly. Under using the shoulder can also cause fractures because the muscles and the tendons on the shoulder will be weak and the bone can easily break when the shoulder is subjected to sudden stress. Degenerating bone diseases is also another cause because the bone tissues break down and can no longer function normally.
Symptoms can vary depending on the type of shoulder fracture the person encountered but the most common signs are the following:
• There would be sever pain on the shoulder right after the injury
• Redness will likely to appear
• There will be bruising of the shoulder especially on the fractured part
• There could be shoulder deformity
Shoulder Fracture Treatment and Healing
There are different options for the treatment of shoulder fractures depending on which bone is damaged. For clavicle fractures, a ‘figure 8” treatment is most recommended. This is a strap that will be worn on the shoulder for around 2 months. Range of motion will be administered after the pain subsides but the person may not be allowed to use his shoulder for a long time until completely healed. For shoulder blade fractures simple slinging of the shoulder, which may last for two weeks or a month will be needed. However, when there is a severe displacement of the glenoid or shoulder socket surgery may be needed.
For those events when the shoulder joint must be positioned back into place, sling can be an option but if the fracture is a displaced bone, surgery will be the option in line. Non-displaced fractures are oftentimes treated with the use of slings but fractures with displaced or fragmented bones will require surgery as well and then going back to the sling and therapy thereafter.
Prevention of shoulder fractures depends on the person on how he uses his shoulder. One must avoid overusing it but not to the point of under using it because the shoulder bones can only take its own limit but still needs to be used to strengthen the muscles that are supporting it. For people who use their shoulders in various sports, protective padding on their shoulders can be the best measures but it would be better if you can avoid high impact sports that can put your shoulder at risk of breaking.
When to Call A Doctor
When the person feels severe pain in his shoulder after an accident or fall, let him rest for a while. If the pain remains and there are bruises and swelling, you must bring the person to the hospital immediately. Take note that the presence of a deformed shoulder is already an emergency case.