Robert Graham, MD, and Benjamin Szerlip, DO, and the team at Austin Shoulder Institute in Austin, Cedar Park and Round Rock, Texas are skilled in shoulder fracture care options, including both surgical and nonsurgical treatment approaches aimed at stabilizing and repairing damaged joints while improving joint function, strength, and stability. If you’re looking for an orthopedic shoulder specialist, call Austin Shoulder Institute or make an appointment online today.
What are the common causes of shoulder fractures?
Shoulder fractures can occur because of direct trauma, such as a high impact from an automobile collision or fall, especially on an outstretched arm, or from severe twists or torsion of the joint. Fractures can also occur as a result of trauma to the chest or rib cage.
What are the symptoms of shoulder fractures?
Shoulder fractures can cause slightly different symptoms depending on where the break occurs, the extent of the break and whether other structures like nerves are involved. General symptoms include:
- Decreased range of motion or inability to use or move the shoulder
- Swelling around the shoulder or collarbone
- An unnatural appearance of the joint including “lumps” or protruding areas
- Grinding noises or sensations when you move the joint
Your doctor at Austin Shoulder Institute may use X-rays and diagnostic imaging studies like CT scans or MRIs to confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of the fracture.
How is a shoulder fracture treated?
Fractures can be treated either surgically or non-surgically, depending on the area of the joint that’s been injured. Most fractures of the clavicle (shoulder bone) or scapula can be treated without surgery, using bracing or splinting to immobilize the area while it heals, as well as ice and medication to control pain and inflammation. Similarly, if you fracture the humerus (the upper arm bone), your surgeon can repair the fracture without surgery, unless the bone is fragmented or pushed out of place significantly.
If a clavicle or scapula fracture results in fragmentation of the bone or if the bone is significantly out of place or piercing the skin, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair your shoulder. If you need surgery for any shoulder fracture, your surgeon may use screws, rods or plates to hold the injured or fragmented portions of the joint in place.