Shoulder Fracture

What is shoulder fracture?

Any injury or trauma may cause a fracture to the ball or socket of the shoulder joint. Fractures may be either displaced or non-displaced. Most of the cases are non-displaced. Most cases of a shoulder fracture take around 6 weeks to heal. Most of them may not require surgical treatment. A fracture may become complicated if the rotator cuff is also injured or torn.

What are the symptoms of the shoulder fracture?

Some of the common symptoms of the shoulder fracture include:

  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Shoulder pain
  • Discoloration around the upper arm
  • Inability to move the arm properly
  • Pain while moving the arm
  • “Bump” or deformity near the fractured area

What are the treatment options for shoulder fracture?

Both nonsurgical as well as, surgical treatments are available for shoulder fracture.

Nonsurgical treatments: Some of the common nonsurgical treatment options for shoulder fractures include:

  • Immobilization using cast
  • Splint
  • Functional brace
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise

Surgery is suggested in severe cases. Most of the issues heal with the nonsurgical options.Surgical procedure is suggested when the fracture fragments are displaced. In the surgery, the fragments or pieces are brought together with the help of screws, pins, wires and plates. Sometimes a shoulder replacement may be suggested if the ball portion of the upper arm is crushed or broken. Non-displaced shoulder fractures should not require more complex surgeries. Displaced fractures need complex surgeries and may cause injury to the surrounding muscles. As a result, there can be weakness, shoulder pain and discomfort.

What are the risks of surgery for shoulder fracture?

Shoulder replacement surgery is a complex procedure which may cause complications and risks such as infection, bleeding, nerve damage, vessel damage etc. In some cases, shoulder may get very stiff after the surgery. Rare cases may require an additional surgery if the surgery has not become successful. The doctor will suggest physical therapy and other rehabilitation procedures a few days after the surgery. It is to restore the normal functioning of the shoulder joint.

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