Proximal Humerus Fracture is a common type of injury of the shoulder joint that is prevalent in the elderly people. It is essentially a broken or cracked shoulder bone. This joint is made up of the shoulder blade (scapula), upper part of the humerus and the collar bone (clavicle). Tissues, ligaments, tendons keep the bones connected and help in movement of the arm. These bones together form 3 important joints- the sternoclavicular, the glenohumeral and the acromioclavicular joints. Proximal Humerus Fracture is a type of fracture that damages the upper part of the humerus bone and is most commonly observed in women and elderly people who suffer from poor bone health.


  • A direct fall on the shoulder
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Overuse injuries
  • Weakness of the joint and bones due to ageing
  • Physical combat or collision
  • Injury to the chest may cause fracture in the scapula
  • Forced twisting of the arm may cause displacements and soft tissue stress
  • Seizures or electric shocks can cause displacements of the joint
  • Lifting heavy objects or overhead
  • Osteoporosis


  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • A visible bony bump at the point of injury or fracture may develop
  • Limited range of motion remains intact
  • Bruising and discoloration around the shoulder
  • The hands and arm may turn cold if there is damage to blood vessels or nerves
  • The joint may look deformed
  • A grinding sensation when the shoulder is moved
  • Inability to move the shoulder or arm
  • The upper limb feels weak
  • In case of an open fracture, a part of the bone may be sticking out of the skin


  • Details of the patient’s medical history, mode and time of injury as well as symptoms may be taken into account
  • Detailed physical examination of the injured joint and arm to check for visible symptoms and severity of injury
  • The peripheral pulses need to be checked to diagnose loss of blood supply to any part of the injured limb
  • X-ray imaging is required to analyze the changes or damage to bone structure. It helps diagnose fractures and displacements if any
  • CT scan or MRI scan may be required to assess the damage to soft tissue structures and blood vessels or nerves


  • In case the bone is not badly broken and has not shifted from its position much, it can be treated by immobilizing the joint using a sling
  • Ice packs applied at regular intervals help reduce pain and swelling
  • Pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed
  • Manual reduction of a displaced bone may be done as an initial step and it is then secured using a shoulder brace
  • Surgical fixation of the broken or displaced bone parts using metal screws, pins and plates
  • Surgical repair of tendons and ligaments that hold the joint may be required
  • Elderly people whose bones are weak and get damaged severely may require a shoulder replacement procedure
  • Physical therapy sessions may be required to restore function and strength of the joint post treatment

Consult the physicians at OrthoTexas to learn more about the treatment options available for Proximal Humerus Fracture. To schedule an appointment, call 972-492-1334.