Shoulder Fracture Care Specialist

Austin Shoulder Institute

Orthopedic Surgeons & Shoulder Specialists located in North Austin, Austin, TX & Austin, Cedar Park, TX

Dr. Graham, Dr. Szerlip, and the team at Austin Shoulder Institute in North Austin, TX 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.

Shoulder Fracture Care Q & A

What causes shoulder fractures?

Shoulder fractures can occur because of direct trauma, such as a high impact from a car accident 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 fracture occurs, the extent of the fracture and whether other structures like nerves are involved. General symptoms include:

  • pain

  • decreased range of motion or inability to use or move the shoulder

  • swelling around the shoulder or collarbone

  • bruising

  • the unnatural appearance of the joint including “lumps” or protruding areas

  • grinding noises or sensations when the joint is moved

X-rays and sometimes other types of imaging like CT scans or MRIs may be used 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. 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, surgery will likely be required. Fractures to the head of the humerus (the upper arm bone) can also frequently be treated without surgery as long as the bone isn't out of place or fragmented. When surgery is required for any shoulder fracture, screws, rods or plates may be used to help hold the injured or fragmented portions of the joint in place.

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