A shoulder fracture typically refers to a total or partial break to either the clavicle (collar bone) or the neck of the humerus (arm bone). It generally is from an impact injury, such as a fall or blow to the shoulder.
Signs and Symptoms Pain and an inability to raise the arm is one sign of a shoulder fracture. The pain may be moderate or severe and may accompany redness and bruising. Some fractures are obvious because the bones in the should simply look out of place. The diagnosis (and severity) is made with an X-ray.
Treatment The first line of treatment is to realign the bones so they can heal in the correct position. Healing occurs while the bones of the clavicle and arm are held in place with a strap or sling. Once the bones have repaired the fracture, physical therapy will begin with simple range of motion exercises. Next, strengthening exercises are added to restore function. Surgery is sometimes needed if the bones are severely displaced.
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