Shoulder Fracture Overview
A shoulder fracture results in a crack or break in one of the shoulder bones, commonly caused by sudden force, impact or trauma to the joint during sports activities or a hard fall. A fractured shoulder is classified based on which bone is broken, the clavicle, scapula or humerus. Dr. Mark Getelman, orthopedic shoulder specialist, diagnoses and treats broken shoulders in Van Nuys, Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles, California patients.
The shoulder is a complex, mobile joint and includes three major bones. A shoulder fracture can involve one or more of these bones, including,
- Clavicle (collarbone) fractures: The most common broken shoulder location commonly caused by a fall.
- Scapula (shoulder blade) fractures: The least common location typically fractured during high-energy impacts such as an automobile accident.
- Humerus (upper arm bone) fractures: These fractures generally occur in the older population from poor bone density.
A fractured shoulder is classified as non-displaced or displaced. Patients with a non-displaced fracture experience broken pieces of bone that line up on each side of the fracture. Patients with a displaced fracture experience broken pieces of bone that do not line up and are separated on each side of the break.
Shoulder Fracture Symptoms
Symptoms of a fractured shoulder include immediate pain after the injury, swelling, bruising, loss of motion and in more sever injuries, deformity at the site of the break.
Shoulder Fracture Diagnosis
During a consultation, Dr. Getelman will examine the injured area for pain level, swelling, bruising and visible deformity. X-rays are the most used diagnostic test to confirm the diagnosis since they display the bones in great detail. An MRI or CT scan may be necessary in more severe broken shoulder cases to better determine the fracture pattern to assess the best course of treatment.