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 Definition A proximal humerus fracture is a break of the upper portion of the bone that connects the elbow to the shoulder
Details Proximal humerus fractures are common in elderly females who fall and young adults with severe trauma to the shoulder. These fractures vary from very minor cracks to major injuries to not only the bone but also the nerves and blood vessels around the shoulder.
Causes Falls or direct blows from collisions are the most common causes of proximal humerus fractures. Occasionally, a shoulder dislocation may result in a fracture of this type.
Diagnosis Pain, swelling and deformity around the shoulder in association with a fall or collision are consistent with a proximal humerus fracture. X-rays are used to confirm the injury. Rarely, further testing (CT Scan or MRI) may be needed to evaluate the fracture.

X-rays of Normal Shoulder and Proximal Humerus Fracture
Treatment Nonoperative: Most proximal humerus fractures can be treated by a simple sling or a functional brace. Healing typically takes 6-8 weeks but varies by considerably by the severity of the fracture.

Operative: Occasionally, surgery is needed to stabilize proximal humerus fractures. The surgery can be in ther form of pins, plates, screws or even artificial shoulder replacement.

Severe fracture-dislocation treated with partial shoulder replacement

Some forms of protective sports bracing or padding may prevent some proximal humerus fractures.