Proximal Humerus Fractures Treatment in Glendale, CA
Proximal humerus fractures are injuries to the shoulder joint at the top of the arm bone or humerus. They are the third most common type of fracture in the elderly. They occur in females twice as often as males. Typical injury occurs from a fall from standing height. Advanced age, osteoporosis and diabetes put patients at higher risk for these injuries.
The humeral head is the “ball” of the ball and socket joint of the shoulder. A proximal humerus fracture is a break in that bone. In medical terminology, we use the term fracture to describe a broken bone. Fractures can be displaced, meaning the bone has shifted or moved, or non-displaced. They can be simple, meaning one fracture line (or ‘clean break’ in common language), or comminuted, meaning multiple pieces. Fractures can be closed, meaning the skin is intact, or open, meaning the bone breaks through the skin (often referred to as compound fractures).
Most proximal humerus fractures can be treated non operatively. When the bone remains aligned, the fracture can heal in about 6-8 weeks with rest and a sling. Once the bone has healed, it can take an additional 6-8 weeks to rehabilitate the shoulder.
If the fracture is displaced, or if the joint is dislocated, surgical intervention may be required. Surgery may require fixing the bones back in place with a metal plate and screws or a rod. Sometimes, in elderly patients with a comminuted and displaced fracture, a shoulder replacement is required. This surgery replaces the broken ball with a new shoulder joint to alleviate pain and improve function.
Whether treated with surgery or without, proximal humerus fractures take several months to heal. Typically, patients lose some range of motion after the injury regardless of the treatment method used.