Shoulder Fracture

Glenoid Fracture

The glenoid is the socket that forms the ball and socket joint of the shoulder. Fractures of the glenoid are rare but can occur due to major trauma or during high-energy sports activities.

Symptoms of a glenoid fracture include shoulder pain, swelling, deformity at the site of the fracture and inability to move the arm. Your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination and order X-ray’s or a CT scan to determine the extent of the fracture and displacement of the joint.

Non-displaced fractures require immobilization in a sling for about six weeks. If the fracture has led to the displacement of the bones, then surgery may be required to correct and fix them with pins, plates or screws. Physical therapy may be recommended to aid recovery, and improve range-of-motion and strength of the arm.

Proximal humerus fractures

The humerus is the upper arm bone. A fracture of the proximal humerus, the region closest to the shoulder joint, can affect your work and activities of daily living.

The shoulder is formed by 3 bones:

  • Clavicle (collar bone)
  • Scapula (shoulder blade)
  • Humerus (upper arm bone)

The humerus and scapula articulate or join at the glenohumeral joint. This joint is held together by a group of muscles and tendons called the rotator cuff. The parts of the proximal humerus frequently involved in fractures include:

  • The head of the humerus
  • Greater tuberosity
  • Lesser tuberosity
  • Surgical neck

Proximal humerus fractures can cause pain and decreased mobility of the arm. The elderly are more prone to proximal humerus fractures from accidents such as falling on an outstretched arm. They may also occur in young people involved in high-energy accidents.

Most proximal humerus fractures are not displaced and can be treated by a supportive sling and early rehabilitation. However, if fracture fragments are 5 mm apart or the angle between the fragments is more than 45 degrees, they are considered displaced and will require surgical intervention such as open reduction and internal fixation. Other factors influencing the decision to perform surgery include age of the patient, bone quality, blood supply to the area and ability to tolerate the post-operative rehabilitation.

Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is a surgical technique employed in severe proximal humerus fractures to restore normal anatomy and improve range of motion and function. The open reduction and internal fixation surgery involves the reduction of the fracture and securing the correctly aligned bones to allow healing.

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