Proximal Humerus Fracture
Proximal humerus fractures are fractures of the upper portion of the arm.
Proximal Humerus Fracture
Proximal humerus fractures can occur in many different fracture patterns involving the greater tuberosity, lesser tuberosity, surgical neck or may be associated with a dislocation. Many of these fractures may be treated with nonoperative management, but others need to be treated surgically taking into consideration the age and health of the patient. If treated nonoperatively, the patient will rest the arm in a sling for four to six weeks. They generally begin to do pendulum exercises about three weeks after the fracture and begin range of motion with the shoulder at about four weeks. This will be determined at follow up appointments after careful examination and x-rays to check the alignment and healing of the fracture.
Generally, we try to get the shoulder moving again as soon as possible to avoid frozen shoulder. The patient will likely return to their normal activities after the fracture heals, although in some cases they may have decreased range of motion when compared with the uninjuried side.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most shoulder pain can be treated with rest, anti-inflammatories and physical therapy. Any primary doctor or general orthopedist can prescribe these simple solutions, but a trained shoulder specialist won’t just treat your pain — they will diagnose and treat your specific problem.
At Modern Orthopaedics, our trained shoulder specialists will ask the right questions, perform specific examinations and order imaging when appropriate. They will be able to diagnose your problem and treat you whether your problem is simple or complex. Although you may not feel like your shoulder issue is “bad enough” to see a specialist, it is advantageous to have the opinion of an expert in the field when it comes to your health.
Before deciding on the treatment for your shoulder pain, our doctors will first diagnose your problem. Depending on the type and severity of your problem, the treatment options will vary.
Generally, physical therapy will be involved in the first step of treatment. You will work closely with a therapist two to three times a week to develop a routine that is tailored to your diagnosis and needs. Therapy may take some time to help, which is why a six-week trial is generally recommended before proceeding with other treatment options.
Cortisone injections are often used in orthopedics. Our doctors are conservative when it comes to using cortisone injections and reserve them for specific situations. They are most commonly used for patients who may have a stiff or frozen shoulder or shoulder arthritis. They use them less commonly for rotator cuff issues, but there are exceptions. Each patient’s situation is unique, and our doctors will work with you to ensure the highest level of care.
Surgical intervention is reserved for shoulder issues that do not respond to more conservative measures or acute injuries that need to be addressed right away. The most common shoulder surgeries performed by our doctors are done arthroscopically. This allows for smaller incisions and a quicker recovery for our patients. The length of recovery, immobilization period and rehabilitation protocol differ depending on the surgery.
Shoulder imaging may help us determine your diagnosis. Our doctors will see you in the office for a consult prior to ordering any imaging. If you have imaging from another office, it would be helpful to bring that to your appointment. We may order an x-ray to look at your bones and joints. X-rays allow us to see the alignment of your shoulder, potential arthritis, calcific tendonitis, fractures and other bony abnormalities. An MRI may be ordered if there is concern for soft tissue injury. This imaging allows our doctors to see if you have any rotator cuff or labral pathology. Once the imaging has been completed, you will return for an appointment to review your imaging in detail. This will give you a chance to ask questions and be involved in your care.
As our patient, you will have an in-depth consultation with one of our doctors. We will create an individualized treatment plan together, tailored to your problem and lifestyle. Our doctors prefer non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy and/or injections. If your problem ultimately does require surgery, our doctors prefer the least invasive surgical techniques possible. Our goals are the same as yours: to get you back to living your best life, pain free.