What is a Proximal Humerus Fracture?

Proximal humerus fractures are among the most commonly broken shoulder bones, particularly in elderly individuals who suffer from osteoporosis. A proximal humerus fracture occurs when the top of the upper arm bone connected to the shoulder joint is broken. Occasionally, this type of injury can displace the involved bones by shifting them from their normal positions. If left untreated, it may even cause a rotator cuff injury. When these complications arise, the proximal humerus fracture becomes far more severe. To preserve effective shoulder function, immediate medical attention is usually necessary.

Causes

While this type of injury is generally more common in older patients, younger patients are not immune to proximal humerus fractures. If left untreated, chances of limited or even no function within the injured shoulder are very high. A proximal humerus fracture may stem from:

  • Falling onto an outstretched hand from a standing height
  • High-impact trauma or unexpected accident
  • Osteoporosis aggravated by injury

Symptoms

Most patients experiencing a proximal humerus fracture evince one or many of these symptoms:

  • Pain in the upper arm or shoulder
  • Limited mobility in the affected region
  • Swelling
  • Weakness
  • Bruising

The OrthoCARE Treatment Approach

If you believe you may have sustained a proximal humerus fracture, seek immediate medical attention. The orthopedic surgeons at OrthoCARE Institute, a division of the vertically-integrated Lumin Health system, are committed to carefully and safely diagnosing and treating your proximal humerus fracture.

During your visit, we will thoroughly assess your injury to determine whether or not bones have been displaced and, if so, how severe any displacement is. Based on this information, we will create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and health history.

Conservative care such as initial immobilization of the injured area using a sling, focused physical therapy, medication and regular monitoring can often allow the bone and soft tissue to heal in a normal anatomical position. However, patients suffering from displacement may need surgery to regain optimal function. The goal of surgery is to realign the bone fragments and firmly hold them in position. In rare and severe cases, shoulder replacement surgery may be necessary.

For more information about proximal humerus fractures, OrthoCARE Institute or the many services offered by our highly experienced orthopedic surgeons, call us directly at 972-573-7802 or fill out the form on our Contact Us page. We look forward to speaking with you!