Fracturing the bone of your upper arm—medically known as a humerus fracture—can be a painful and frightening experience, especially because the most common cause of this type of fracture is a bad fall. It may seem like a severe enough break to require surgery, but, in reality, most humerus fractures can be treated by nonsurgical means.
Humerus fractures are actually more common than hip fractures, especially in adults over the age of 50. If the fracture is nondisplaced (meaning that the bone fragments have not been jostled out of position as a result of the injury), chances are that you can avoid surgery. This doesn’t mean that recovery is simple, however; most humerus fractures do require use of a sling or shoulder immobilizer, and you’ll need to avoid moving the shoulder for at least two weeks.
The next stage of recovery involves wearing a more flexible brace and working with us to increase the arm’s range of motion, along with x-rays to ensure that the bone is healing correctly. We can help you with this process by designing a program that will build muscle strength and increase your flexibility, helping the joint begin to function more smoothly.
It is important that you be patient and stick with your program, because this type of recovery involves not only bone but also muscles, ligaments and soft tissues. Your participation is essential to get you out of that sling or brace and back to normal activities as soon as possible.
If your humerus fracture does require surgery, we can design a therapeutic program to facilitate your recovery. Treatment will focus on your regaining the range of motion, strength and dexterity in your wrist, hand, elbow and shoulder through a series of stretching and strengthening exercises that you can practice with us and at home.
No matter where or how you injured your humerus or whether or not you have surgery, a regular physical therapy program can help make your recovery comfortable, safe and effective.