Shoulder fracture

Cover image for the shoulder fracture article

The shoulder fracture is classified into different shapes and degrees according to the fracture's severity in the joint's bones. The symptoms of a shoulder joint fracture are usually apparent. When you fracture your shoulder, you will feel severe pain with swelling in the shoulder.

The shoulder joint is the meeting of the humerus bone in the arm with the bone of the scapula, in addition to the clavicle bone that connects the sternum and the upper part of the shoulder. Bone fractures may occur in one or all of these bones at the same time, and shoulder fractures may be associated with dislocation of the bones of the joint.

Although the shoulder fracture Shoulder fracture It is one of the rare fractures in the human body (because the joint is strong and well protected), but this fracture needs medical intervention to prevent complications or complications resulting from delayed treatment, especially in severe bone injuries that occur at the level of one of the shoulders, which are associated with dislocation or injury to one of the structures. Surrounding the shoulder, such as blood vessels or nerves, follow with us to learn everything you want about the condition of the broken shoulder and its symptoms, along with how to treat it appropriately.

Overview of shoulder fracture

The shoulder fracture constitutes only 1% of all the fractures of the bones of the body combined, which makes it somewhat rare. This is due to the fact that the shoulder joint is surrounded by many muscles of the upper limb that provide the necessary protection for the bones, in addition to the location of the joint that is well protected from all directions.

It takes tremendous force to be applied to the bones in order for a fracture to occur in the shoulder bones. One of the most common causes of shoulder fractures is car and motorcycle accidents, in addition to falling from high heights on the shoulder or arm joint. Sports injuries may also cause fractures, but they are less common. Shoulder fractures are often seen in young males because they are more susceptible to injuries and traumatic and sports accidents than the elderly, but on the other hand, bone density decreases with age and the bones become weaker, and a very weak trauma may lead to fracture of the shoulder bones in the elderly.

The methods used to treat a shoulder fracture vary according to the severity of the bone injury and the size of the joint damage. The doctor may be satisfied with using simple treatments such as fixing the joint with a splint until the fracture heals itself, and in violent fractures he may resort to other methods of treatment as a surgical procedure aimed at repairing the defective position of the bones. Divide the fracture into different types and shapes to determine the best method of management and treatment.

As for the symptoms of a shoulder fracture, they are not much different from the rest of the body fractures, and the symptoms are usually considered distinct from the fracture. There is no need to fear that there may be a hidden fracture in your shoulder without you realizing it, as the fracture usually tends to show clear signs and symptoms.

Symptoms of a shoulder fracture

As we mentioned earlier, the symptoms of a shoulder fracture are not deceptive and often appear immediately after the injury. However, there are some cases in which the symptoms may be delayed to appear and may take up to two days after the accident that caused the fracture. When the patient is exposed to a fracture, he often feels one of these signs and symptoms:

  • Shoulder pain that gets worse with movement
  • Swelling around the shoulder fracture site
  • Difficulty moving the shoulder joint or raising the arm up
  • Hearing a bone crack
  • Deformation of the external shape of the shoulder joint, especially in severe fractures
  • Blue or discolored skin over the shoulder fracture area

If you notice one of these signs after you have suffered a traumatic injury, such as falling on your arm while it is in an extended position, consult your doctor to investigate the causes of these symptoms and to diagnose the medical problem that led to it, of which the shoulder fracture is one of the most important causes.

Symptoms of a shoulder fracture, the most important of which are pain and swelling around the joint, in addition to difficulty moving your arm and shoulder
Symptoms of a shoulder fracture

Types of shoulder fractures

Bone fractures were divided into many shapes and types according to the type of bone damaged inside your shoulder joint, as this classification helps in choosing the appropriate method for treating the fracture.

Clavicle fracture

The clavicle is a long bone that connects the upper part of the sternum to the shoulder blade. It is at risk of injuries and fractures, as the clavicle fracture is one of the most common types of fractures of the shoulder joint.

Clavicle fracture is one of the most common injuries among children and young adults, as this fracture often occurs after exposure to a traumatic or sports injury such as falling while playing football, and it may also occur due to a traffic accident that led to a violent collision.

A picture of a broken collarbone, which is the most common type of shoulder fracture
The most common type of shoulder fracture is a collarbone fracture

Fracture of the humerus in the arm

It connects to the humerus Homerus with the scapula bone Scapula The shoulder joint, which has the shape of a ball, is formed connected to a cavity, as the ball forms the head of the humerus and the cavity is located within the bone of the scapula.

The humerus bone may be exposed to a fracture in one of its distal or proximal parts as a result of a severe traumatic injury that affects the continuity of the bone tissue in that area. As for the fracture of the proximal part of the humerus, it is more common in the elderly and people with osteoporosis.

In this picture, we notice a fracture in the middle of the humerus bone, which is considered one of the types of shoulder and arm fractures
Mid-humerus fracture (a form of shoulder joint fracture)

Shoulder blade fracture

The scapula is a large, flat bone with a triangular shape. The hollow of the scapula (the glenoid cavity) connects with the head of the humerus bone, contributing to the formation of the joint between the arm and the shoulder. In its posterior part, it connects with the clavicle, forming a joint between the shoulder and the sternum in the chest.

This type is rare due to the presence of many structures surrounding the scapula and protecting it from injuries, making fractures in this area very rare.

Illustrative image of a rare type of shoulder fracture, which is a scapula fracture
Shoulder blade fracture

Forms of shoulder fracture

A morphological classification has been developed for all bone fractures in order to determine the severity of the injury and damage with the selection of the best method of treatment, among these forms:

Stable shoulder fracture

When the broken parts of the bones remain within their natural position in the joint without being displaced, then the fracture is known as a stable fracture, meaning that the fracture was not accompanied by dislocation or displacement of the bones outside their usual anatomical location. This type is considered a better prognosis and is more easily treated compared to unstable shoulder fractures.

Unstable shoulder fracture

In this form, the fractured bone is displaced from its usual position in the joint, so that the two ends of the connected bone are separated from each other, and the bones of the shoulder joint take a disorderly position.

This type may need to perform surgery in order to restore the bones to their previous location in the joint so that the fracture heals naturally, in addition to that the surgery aims to fix the problem of instability of the shoulder joint, which, if not treated, leads to a recurrence of a fracture or dislocation in the future. You can read more about Shoulder dislocation surgery.

Diagnosis of shoulder fractures

The joint and orthopedic doctor will ask you about a recent injury or sports activity that may cause a fracture of your shoulder bones, in addition to a previous history of a shoulder fracture or dislocation, and then ask about your symptoms in detail.

Then the orthopedic doctor performs a general physical examination and may ask you to perform certain movements, such as raising the arm up and other movements, and in order to confirm the diagnosis, he requests one of the following examinations:

X-ray image

This test allows obtaining a clear view of the bones in order to determine the presence of a fracture or anomaly in the bones of the shoulder joint, even if it is very small, and also allows to determine the type and degree of the fracture.

Magnetic Resonance

One of the advanced methods in the medical field, which enables the doctor to see the internal tissues in the body clearly through the use of a strong magnetic field and radio waves. Shoulder tendonitis.

How to treat a shoulder fracture

Choosing the best method of treatment depends on the nature of the condition and the severity of the fracture in the bones. There are currently several methods available to treat a fracture of the shoulder joint so that the bones of the joint heal well without complications affecting the function and condition of the joint.

Shoulder fracture treatment without surgery

In cases of simple shoulder fractures that are not associated with bone displacement, a splint can be used with a shoulder sling shoulder brace To stabilize the joint and prevent its movement until the fracture heals automatically, and the application of ice over the fracture site helps to reduce the symptoms of injury, as well as the use of oral pain-relieving medications such as ibuprofen.

And do not forget the important role of physiotherapy in restoring the range of motion and accelerating fracture healing and recovery after it. You can read more about Physiotherapy in Turkey.

Shoulder fracture surgery

In the case of severe shoulder fractures that include displacement of the bones with damage to one of the structures adjacent to the joint, such as damage to the tendons or ligaments, then the need for surgery appears with the aim of ensuring adequate healing of the bone and repairing the accompanying injuries in order to prevent the emergence of serious complications on the joint.

may lead shoulder fractures This can lead to formal or functional deformities in the joint, especially those resulting from severe crushing injuries, such as a run-over accident, which may cause serious damage to your shoulder joint.

Shoulder fracture surgery is performed either by arthroscopy or by open surgery Shoulder arthroscopic surgery It is often the best option because it is less dangerous and does not require a large surgical incision, and the patient can return home quickly after the operation, but in the case of complex injuries, traditional surgery may be preferred due to the difficulty of repairing severe joint damage with arthroscopy.

The surgeon may be satisfied with removing the broken bone fragments with debridement and smoothing of the bony edges. In other cases, he may resort to a bone graft when large parts of the joint bones are lost. The dislocation accompanying the shoulder fracture is also repaired when it exists and the problem of joint instability is treated by restoring the joint and its components to the normal state.

Recovery after shoulder fractures

The period following a shoulder fracture is a sensitive period, as the patient must adhere to his doctor’s instructions regarding rest and avoid physical activities that require movement of the arm and shoulder in order to ensure healing and a quick recovery of the bone.

Eating healthy food and avoiding smoking are important tips to speed up bone healing and healing, in addition to the benefits of vitamin D by accelerating healing, which can be obtained through exposure to sunlight or through nutritional supplements containing the vitamin.

As for the recovery period after shoulder fractures, it usually ranges from 6 to 12 weeks. This period may increase or decrease according to the severity of the fracture, the condition of each patient, and the extent of his commitment to the recovery plan specified by his doctor. Of course, physical therapy exercises have a role in accelerating fracture healing and improving the range of motion. joint and its function.

Recently, a new technology has been applied in Turkey Acceleration of bone healing through electrical stimulationThis modern method helps to speed up the patient's return to normal life by securing faster healing of the bone.

In the end, a shoulder fracture may be somewhat rare, but it requires special attention and care to avoid complications that may affect the function and stability of the joint. Shoulder fractures usually present with symptoms and signs that make a quick diagnosis of the fracture possible. Shoulder fractures may be associated with dislocation or bone separation. The humerus is separated from the shoulder blade, and the crack at the level of the collar bone is the most common type of fracture that occurs at the level of the shoulder joint.


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Johns Hopkins
  3. UpToDate

Frequently Asked Questions

When you have a fracture in one of the shoulder bones, you will notice signs and symptoms, the most important of which is pain that prevents you from moving your shoulder smoothly. Swelling may also appear around your shoulder joint, in addition to that you may hear a bone crack when you move the joint.

The recovery period usually takes from 45 to 120 days. This period may increase with the severity of the injury and the size of the joint damage.

Determining whether a shoulder fracture is serious or not depends on the cause that led to the fracture and the degree of damage to the adjacent bones and joint structures. Shoulder fractures may be simple and do not pose any significant danger, while other fractures can cause imminent danger to the shoulder joint and even to the patient's life.

Pain and difficulty in movement are the most common signs seen in children with a shoulder fracture. A bone crack may also be heard when the child moves his shoulder. Parents may also notice a change in the appearance of the external shoulder joint in the child and his crying when trying to move the joint.

A person's exposure to a traumatic or sports injury is the most common cause of a shoulder fracture. The risk of a shoulder joint fracture increases in the elderly as a result of their weak bones, as well as when suffering from osteoporosis.

If you are planning for treatment in Turkey
you can talk to us here.

If you are planning for treatment in Turkey
you can talk to us here.