The shoulder consists of bones, ligaments and tendons. The most common bones to fracture in the shoulder is the Humerus, Glenoid, Scapula and Clavicle.
Fractures are usually caused by injuries which can include falls, sport injuries or trauma due to traffic accidents. You will have pain in the shoulder with a Humerus fracture.
Most of the Humerus fractures are diagnosed with an X-ray. Fractures of the humerus may be classified by the location into proximal region, which is near the shoulder, the middle region or shaft, and the distal region, which is near the elbow.
Treating a humerus fracture depends on several factors, including the type of fracture and whether there are any loose bone fragments. If you have a non-displaced meaning that the bones align even with the fracture (this can include hairline fractures) – you may be treated conservatively in a sling. The sling will be worn for 6 weeks where after an x-ray will be taken to see if acceptable bone formation and healing has taken place. If you have a displaced fracture, in other words if the bones are not aligning properly, you will require surgery to align and keep the bones aligned for healing.
Under general anaesthesia, and Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) is done. An incision is made and depending on the type of fracture, usually a plate and screws will be fixated to align the bones for healing.
You will be sent home with pain medication to help with pain relief. You will be required to wear a sling for 6 weeks after surgery to minimize movement of the shoulder. After the six weeks you will start with Physiotherapy.
These are fortunately rare, but as with all surgery, may occur. These include infection, pain associated to the Plate and screws and Mal-union or Non-Union of the bones. These problems, although rare and unwanted, can usually be treated.