Proximal Humerus Fracture | Shoulder Pain Symptoms | MedStar Health

What is a proximal humerus (shoulder) fracture?

These fractures refer to any broken bone that occurs in the shoulder area. This might affect the collarbone (clavicle), the shoulder blade (scapula), or the upper arm bone (proximal humerus). When a fracture occurs in the proximal humerus, it is usually the result of trauma, such as a fall or motor vehicle accident. A fractured shoulder is somewhat common but requires medical care from an experienced orthopedic specialist to ensure a full and proper recovery.

What are the causes?

Proximal humerus fractures are common among older adults, and usually are the result of one of the following:

  • Fall from a height

  • Car accident

  • Forceful hit on the upper arm

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of shoulder fractures include:

  • Pain

  • Swelling and bruising of the shoulder area

  • Inability to move the shoulder without pain

  • A bump or disfigurement at the site of the fracture

  • Snapping or crunching sensation when moving the shoulder

How is it diagnosed?

The orthopedic surgeons at MedStar Health are experts at diagnosing complex shoulder fractures. Our initial exam generally includes:

  • Medical history evaluation: This includes asking questions about how the injury occurred, whether you have other medical problems, and if you take any medications

  • Physical exam: Your orthopedist will examine the shoulder area carefully to check where you are most sensitive to pain

  • Imaging tests: To confirm a broken shoulder bone, your doctor will likely order an X-ray to pinpoint the exact location of your fracture

What are the best treatment options?

Most shoulder fractures can be treated using conservative options. This may include any of these treatments:

  • Sling or immobilizing strap

  • Physical therapy

  • Exercise therapy

In more severe cases in which fracture fragments have been displaced from their normal position, surgery may be necessary to realign the shoulder. Fixation of the proximal humerus surgery is offered at MedStar Health, as well as everything you will need during your rehabilitation.

Comprehensive care

We understand that experiencing a shoulder fracture can be overwhelming and painful. We work with you and your family to get you the diagnosis and treatment you need to get back to your lifestyle quickly and safely. We customize our approach to meet your needs, offering you the most advanced treatment options available.

Our team includes orthopedic surgeons who specialize in both traditional and modern management of shoulder disorders. Our surgeons are leaders in the field, with unique expertise in the most innovative techniques and surgeries. With fellowship training and experience focused exclusively on shoulder surgery, our surgeons offer you the best standard of care.