What To Know When You Have Fractured Your Proximal Humerus

When you are going about your daily life, whether you are a serious athlete or you work a standard office job, the last thing you expect is to experience an accident or incident that causes a fracture to your proximal humerus (the part of your upper arm bone closest to your body). Fracturing such an important bone in your arm and especially your shoulder can cause you a great deal of pain and trouble if you do not get the right treatment and assistance from a doctor. Get to know some of the treatment options that can help you with a fractured humerus so that you can begin your recovery process as soon as possible.


If the x-rays and other scans of your fractured proximal humerus show that the fracture is stable, meaning the bone has not shifted out of place and does not show signs that it will move out of line with the rest of the bone while healing, you may be able to start with basic shoulder immobilization and rest for treatment.

Immobilization can be accomplished with a sling or a specially designed shoulder immobilizer that will keep your shoulder joint (as well as the rest of your arm) from moving. This gives your humerus the opportunity to heal and repair itself naturally. Immobilization is the preferred method of treatment for stable fracture of the proximal humerus as it is less invasive and may cut down on recovery time.

Shoulder Surgery

If the fracture is unstable or the immobilization efforts simply do not work, you may need surgery to help to fix your proximal humerus fracture. The exact nature and location of the fracture in the proximal area of the humerus will determine the type of surgery performed.

When the head of your humerus, which is the larger knob at the top of the humerus, is displaced from the rest of the humerus or is fragmented (meaning it is in multiple pieces), your shoulder surgeon may replace the damaged head of the humerus with an artificial one. This can help to prevent improper healing and keep the shoulder joint usable in the future.

Other surgeries may focus instead on stabilizing the humerus and repairing the damage. One of the ways to accomplish this is to implant a metal plate int he shoulder to aid in the recovery and healing process.

Now that you know some of the treatment options available for a fractured proximal humerus, you can better prepare yourself for the healing and recovery process.  Contact a shoulder surgeon for more information.