Shoulder

Fractures

Overview

Fractures can vary greatly from a stress fracture to broken bones. Symptoms of a fracture include:

  • Pain with weight bearing
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Deformed or crooked appearance

If your child has a potential fracture, they should be examined by a doctor as quickly as possible. A child's bones heal quickly, and it is important that the bone receives the proper treatment before it begins to heal.

Clavicle Fracture (Broken Collarbone)

A clavicle fracture is a break in the collarbone, one of the main bones in the shoulder. Most clavicle fractures occur when you fall directly onto the shoulder or an outstretched arm. A broken collarbone can be very painful and can make it hard to move your arm. Most clavicle fractures can be treated by wearing a sling to keep the arm and shoulder from moving while the bone heals. With some clavicle fractures, however, the pieces of bone shift out of alignment when the injury occurs. For these fractures, surgery may be needed to realign the collarbone.

Learn more about clavicle fractures.

Scapula (Shoulder Blade) Fracture

High-energy, blunt trauma injuries, such as those experienced in a motorcycle or motor vehicle collisions or falling from a significant height, can cause a scapula fracture. Nonsurgical treatment with a simple sling works for most fractures of the scapula. A fracture involving the glenoid (socket) may require surgery.

Learn more about scapula fractures.

Proximal Humerus Fracture

A fracture near the ball portion of the shoulder is called a proximal humerus fracture. This is a common injury associated with a fall. Initial treatment includes use of a sling for immobilization. A fracture that is significantly displaced or has many pieces may require surgery.

Learn more about proximal humerus fractures.

Growth Plate Fracture

Because children are still growing, their bones are subject to a unique injury called a growth plate fracture. Growth plates are areas of cartilage located near the ends of bones. They are the last portion of a child's bones to harden and are particularly vulnerable to fracture. Approximately 25% of all childhood fractures are growth plate fractures. Because the growth plate helps determine the future length and shape of the mature bone, this type of fracture requires prompt attention. With proper treatment, most growth plate fractures heal without complications.

Learn more about growth plate fractures.

Diagnosis

X-rays are commonly used to evaluate fractures. Occasionally, a computed topography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be necessary.

Treatment Options

Treatment of fractures vary greatly depending on the location, number of fragments, and how well the bones line-up. The pieces of bone may line up correctly (stable fracture) or be out of alignment (displaced fracture). The skin around the fracture may be intact (closed fracture) or the bone may puncture the skin (open fracture).

Most fractures can be treated with casting or splinting. Surgery may be required for certain types of fractures with open wounds, many bone fragments, or a large degree of displacement. Surgery may also be needed for fractures that have not healed properly with nonsurgical treatment. Your doctor will talk with you about the best treatment option for you and your injury.

Physical Therapy

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you regain strength or restore range of motion after your fracture is healed.

Patient Forms, Instructions, and Protocols

Cast Care Instructions

Dr. Brent Carlson

Humerous/Clavicle Post-Op Instructions

Dr. Austin Crow

Proximal Humerus Fracture & Greater Tuberosity Rehab Protocol

Eau Claire Area Locations

Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine - Altoona

Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine - Chippewa Falls

Request an appointment

Outreach Locations

Cumberland Memorial Hospital

Chippewa Valley Hospital

Diagnostic Radiology Associates

Hayward Area Memorial Hospital

Ascension Our Lady of Victory Hospital

Indianhead Medical Center

Black River Memorial Hospital

Krohn Clinic