Shoulder Injury Explained: Proximal Humerus Fractures

Shoulder Injury

A shoulder injury is never fun. When you damage the proximal humerus area of your arm, utilizing that arm can be an extreme challenge.

But how much do you really know about this extremely common (but extremely debilitating) problem? How will it affect you? And what is going on under the surface when your doctor says “You have a proximal humerus fracture”?

Learn more about your shoulder injury, today, with Stark Feed and Toby Orthopaedics.

A Closer Look at Shoulder Injury

Proximal humerus fractures are common but debilitating injuries, which result in significant dysfunction for the patient and both diagnostic and treatment challenges for the physician. Knowledge of the complex bone and soft tissue anatomy of the shoulder is paramount in the successful treatment of proximal humerus fractures.

Proximal humerus fractures account for 5 % of all fractures, and they are third in frequency among the most common types of fractures. In general, there is a unimodal distribution of these injuries. The vast majority are low energy fractures occur in elderly individuals. Higher energy and more complex fractures in younger patients happening less frequently. Incidence does tend to increase with age, and elderly individuals who sustain these fractures are more commonly female, over the age of 60, and have a history of osteoporosis. Nearly 3⁄4 of proximal humerus fractures occur in patients older than 60 who have fallen from a standing height.

Proximal Humerus Fractures: Risk Factors

The majority of proximal humerus fractures in this demographic are relatively non-displaced and can be treated successfully without surgery. Risk factors for proximal humerus fractures include elderly patients, low bone mineral density, impaired vision and balance, no history of hormone replacement therapy, smoking, >3 chronic illnesses, and previous fragility fracture. Younger patients sustain proximal humerus fractures as a result of motor vehicle accidents, seizures, electric shock, and fall from greater than a standing height.

These injuries tend to involve more significant bony and soft tissue disruption and accordingly are treated with surgical intervention. Regardless of the age or mechanism of injury, restoration of a functional range of motion remains the primary treatment option. Some difficulty in classification of proximal humerus fractures has resulted in a lack of standardization over treatment protocols.

Numerous factors contribute to post-injury functional outcomes; therefore, a large debate exists over appropriate treatment. In addition, a lack of high-level evidence with regards to treatment has resulted in a lack of consensus-based protocol-driven treatment.

Recent advances in technology have provided new treatment options without substantiation over historical options. There currently exist several dilemmas like when to perform surgery and which surgery is the most appropriate treatment method. Scientists have yet definitively determined these. High-level outcome-based studies are currently being performed to help answer questions but uncertainty still remains.

Are you looking for world-class orthopedic implants to help you maintain and recover from a moderate to a severe shoulder injury? Check out Toby Orthopaedics’ fantastic product line and start improving your way of life, today!