Proximal Humerus / Shoulder Fracture

A fracture (broken bone) in the upper aspect of the arm bone (humerus) is known as a proximal humerus fracture. These fractures occur after a direct blow to the shoulder, usually caused by a fall, collision, or motor vehicle accident. These fractures are common, and become more frequent as we age. Patients note severe pain and swelling in the shoulder, and these fractures are usually diagnosed in the emergency room.

In many cases, a proximal humerus fracture may be treated without surgery. In this cases, a sling is used to provide support for the shoulder while the bone heals. In some cases, the bone fragments may have moved out of place (displaced). If this occurs, surgery is usually recommended. Surgery involves either fixation of the bone fragments with plates and screws or shoulder replacement with a metal prosthesis.

Further information on this injury can be found in this article on the AAOS OrthoInfo website, an orthopaedic resource center providing expert information.