Is a broken shoulder common? (2023)

How common is it to break your shoulder?

The shoulder blade (scapula) is rarely broken (broken bones are also called fractures). Of all bone breaks, shoulder blade breaks occur less than 1% of the time. Scapular fractures occur more often in young men ages 25 to 45 because of the activities and trauma they encounter.

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How serious is a broken shoulder?

A fracture of any of the bones in the shoulder can greatly impair your mobility and cause severe pain. Shoulder fractures occur as a result of trauma or injury to the shoulder from a fall, sports injury, car accident or any direct blow to the shoulder.

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How long does it take for a broken shoulder to recover?

Most shoulder fractures heal in about six weeks. About 20 percent of shoulder fractures are displaced and may require some type of manipulation to restore normal anatomy. Occasionally the rotator cuff muscles are injured or torn at the same time as the fracture. This can further complicate the treatment.

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Is it easy to fracture shoulder?

Because the scapula is protected by the chest and surrounding muscles, it is not easily fractured. Therefore, fractures of the scapula are usually caused by high-energy trauma, such as a high speed motor vehicle accident. Scapula fractures are often associated with injuries to the chest.

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Does a broken shoulder need a cast?

A shoulder or arm cast is typically recommended to immobilize the shoulder or arm after a severe shoulder injury or surgery. Conditions that may require a cast include: Humerus fracture. Dislocated shoulder.

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Will my broken shoulder ever heal?

Most fractures heal without any problems in six to twelve weeks. However, it may take six to twelve months for your symptoms to settle completely – these can include pain or discomfort, stiffness, decreased strength, swelling and loss of muscle bulk.

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What is the fastest way to heal a broken shoulder?

Physical therapy may also help a fracture heal more quickly than immobilization alone. Even small movements in the hands increase blood flow throughout the arm, which brings more oxygen and nutrients to injured parts of the bone and helps it to heal more quickly.

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How does a broken shoulder feel?

The most obvious symptom of a fractured shoulder, whether it is a fractured scapula or one of the other bones, is pain. Shoulder fracture pain is usually severe. Other common shoulder symptoms include: Swelling around the shoulder.

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What not to do with a broken shoulder?

Recovering from a broken shoulder

If you move your shoulder too early while recovering, you can delay the healing process. At the same time, you have to maintain some movement while resting your shoulder or you can experience too much stiffness.

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What are the long term effects of a broken shoulder?

Long-term issues after fracture of the proximal humerus can include stiffness, soreness, and an inability to regain full, pre-injury strength. You may require several months of physical therapy to be able to return to your prior activities.

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How should you sleep with a broken shoulder?

Holding the broken bone above your heart prevents blood from pooling and causing swelling. First, try sleeping on your back while supporting yourself on several pillows. If this doesn't help, adjust slowly to the side position if possible. Sleep in the middle of the bed, so you don't fall in the middle of the night.

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What is the most common shoulder fracture?

Clavicle Fracture

The clavicle, also called the collarbone, is a long bone that connects the shoulder blade to the breastplate, or sternum. A broken collarbone is the most common type of shoulder fracture.

Is a broken shoulder common? (2023)
Do you have to wear a sling for a fractured shoulder?

If you don't need surgery you will wear a sling at first to help keep your arm still to let the fracture start to heal and the callus start to form. How long you wear the sling may be slightly different depending on your injury but most fractures mean you will need to wear a sling for 3 to 4 weeks.

Can I take my sling off to sleep?

Should I Wear a Sling While Sleeping? Yes. You should only be removing your sling for dressing and bathing. This helps keep you from unconsciously putting your arm in a bad position and waking up in a world of pain.

What happens if a broken shoulder goes untreated?

If left untreated, shoulder blade fractures will heal over time, but may heal in the wrong position. This is called malunion. Malunion can lead to residual pain and stiffness, mobility issues, and a bump on the back of the shoulder blade.

Can shoulder injuries be permanent?

Without treatment, rotator cuff problems may lead to permanent loss of motion or weakness of the shoulder joint.

How do doctors fix a broken shoulder?

It usually heals without surgery. Your doctor may fit you with a sling to hold your arm still. If the bone comes through the skin, or if it's fractured in more than one place, you may need an operation. Just like with shoulder surgery, your doctor will need to hold it together with plates, screws, or pins.

Can you drive with broken shoulder?

The bottom line is that, if you need to be in a sling, you cannot drive. It isn't safe, especially if you encounter any surprises on the road.

How long is physical therapy for a broken shoulder?

Most patients will follow a physical therapy routine and receive treatment for about 4 months following surgery. At that time, most patients can return to all regular physical activity.

How do you shower with a broken shoulder?


To wash under the injured arm, lean slightly to the side and forward. This will give access to the underarm. Use a face cloth, soap and water ensuring the area is dried thoroughly. Do not try to raise your arm A fractured Humerus can be very mobile.

How long does a broken shoulder take to heal without surgery?

However, on average, recovery from a broken shoulder can take about six weeks. Exercises to increase the range of motion of the shoulder usually begin about a week after the injury.

What are the two most common shoulder injuries?

Because your shoulder can be unstable, it can be easily injured. Common problems include: Sprains and strains. Dislocations.

Where does a fractured shoulder hurt?

Bruising, swelling, and pain over the clavicle region are common symptoms. A bump may also form over the site of injury due to hematoma (swelling confined to a specific area) or deformity of the bone. When the clavicle is fractured, patients typically have difficulty raising the arm.

Can I remove my sling to shower?

You may remove your arm from the sling to bend and straighten your elbow and to move your fingers several times a day. You may remove the sling to bathe, dress, and perform elbow range of motion several times a day.

How long should you sleep in a recliner after shoulder surgery?

Do not sleep flat on your back. Sleeping on an incline for 4-6 weeks after surgery is best. For the first week or two, a recliner may be the most comfortable option. Purchasing a 45 degree wedge from a medical supply store can also provide a stable base to prop yourself up in the bed.

How do you know if your fractured your shoulder?

General symptoms of a fractured shoulder include pain, swelling and bruising, an inability to move the shoulder, a grinding sensation when the shoulder moves and that it does not look right. It depends on which of the three bones in the shoulder are fractured for specific symptoms.

What happens if a shoulder fracture goes untreated?

Complications of an Untreated Fracture

Bone deformity. Permanent nerve damage. Muscle and ligament damage. Extended pain and swelling.

Is a fracture worse than a break?

Some people assume that fractured bones are more serious than broken bones, while others assume it's the other way around. But the truth is that these terms are used interchangeably, and they have the same meaning to medical professionals.

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