How is a shoulder fracture treated?
Conservative treatment is typically reserved for non-displaced fractures. This means the bones have not shifted within the shoulder and are still aligned in an acceptable position. Bracing, sling wear, and immobilization can be recommended in cases of nondisplaced shoulder fractures. Dr. Williams may prescribe physical therapy during the healing process so that an individual can regain range of motion and shoulder function. Icing the injury and taking over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help with swelling and pain.
Traumatic shoulder fractures and displaced fractures can require surgery. The goal of surgery is the proper positioning of a displaced fracture to an anatomic position. The surgical treatment necessary depends on the type of shoulder injury and type of fracture that was sustained. Fracture repair (open reduction and internal fixation) involves the use of plates and screws to facilitate proper bony healing; in the most severe cases of proximal humerus fractures, partial or total shoulder replacement surgery may be necessary. Dr. Williams will discuss the severity of the injury sustained and what surgical procedure are best for the patient to resolve the issue. Surgical treatment will also require physical therapy sessions after an individual has recovered from the procedure and the bone has begun to heal.