What is a Fractured Shoulder?
Trauma to the shoulder joint is common in active individuals and athletes. A fractured shoulder is one of many injuries one may sustain from blunt trauma such a fall or motor vehicle accident. Fractures of the shoulder girdle are classified based on the bone that is fractured (humerus, clavicle, or scapula). Fractures can be further classified as either non-displaced or displaced. A non-displaced fracture involves a break where the broken pieces line up and is not shifted, while a displaced fracture represent fracture fragments that are separated from each other and do not line up. If a patient in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria or Ventura, California area is suspected of a shoulder fracture, they are encouraged to contact Dr. Jervis Yau, shoulder specialist, for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
What Causes a Shoulder Fracture?
Fractures of the shoulder girdle happen when excessive force is placed on the joint through trauma. There are three distinct bones that can experience a break, including:
- Clavicle Fractures: collarbone
- Proximal humerus fractures: upper arm bone
- Various scapular fractures: shoulder blade
The most common fracture seen in the young, active population is the clavicle fracture. Proximal humerus fractures are typically seen in elderly individuals due to decreased bone density. Scapula fractures are usually due to high-energy impact such as a fall from height or motor vehicle accident.
What are the Symptoms of a Fractured Shoulder?
Severe pain, crepitation and limited movement are the hallmark symptoms of fractures. Patients may also experience significant swelling and bruising of the shoulder and arm.