All you want to know about shoulder fractures

  • October 14, 2017

Shoulder pain is formed as a result of over use of the joint and the damages caused to the joint or as a result of shoulder fractures   or damages caused to the nearby muscles , ligaments, tendons etc.  The pain increases or worsens as a result of movements or activities involving shoulder joint.  Diseases of other organs like abdomen, chest, heart etc can also cause shoulder pain. Such shoulder pain is known as referred pain.

Causes of shoulder fracture

  • Brachial plexus injury
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Broken arm
  • Bursitis
  • Broken collar bone
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Dislocated shoulder
  • Hiatel hernia
  • Impingement
  • Polymyalgia rheumatics
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Septic arthritis
  • Separated shoulder
  • Sprains and strains
  • Tendon rupture
  • Tendinitis
  • Torn cartilage
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome


Meeting your doctor

When shoulder fractures are accompanied by breathing difficulty or chest pain, it has to be considered as heart attack symptom. In such cases with the help of some one, meet your doctor immediately. Similarly, shoulder pain caused as a result of an accident in which the joint is deformed with severe pain, sudden swelling etc is also an emergent situation where the help of your family doctor is inevitable.


Your doctor examines your medical history completely and tries to understand the underlying causes, if any. Your medical history will be very helpful in ascertaining the cause and severity of the problem experienced by you. Your doctor will thoroughly examine the patient’s body and will look for abnormalities, deformity or weakness of the muscles etc. If not satisfied with the results he may also ask the patient to undergo one or more of the following tests for clarifications and for substantiating his findings.

X-rays: These images will clearly show the fractures and injuries to the shoulder bones.

Magnetic resonance imaging/Ultra sound: With these techniques, better pictures of soft tissues are obtained helping the doctor to identify the injured ligaments and tendons in your shoulder joint.

CT scan: In this scanning X-rays are combined with computer technology for producing a detailed view of the bones in the target area.

Electromyogram: This is a special method used for evaluating the nerve function in the affected area.

Self care

As a home remedy, one can try over the counter medications, like ibuprofen etc. Avoiding usage of the damaged shoulder and giving it perfect rest are also advisable as home remedies. Icing the affected area for about 20 minutes a few times daily can also help in the reduction of the pain experienced.


90 % of problems related to shoulder pain respond to simple treatments and only in the remaining cases shoulder surgery for shoulder replacement becomes necessary. Problems like rotor cuff tears and recurring dislocations etc may not respond to conventional treatment options. In such cases surgery using arthroscope is carried out in which the damaged shoulder bones are repaired or they are removed and prostheses made of medical grade plastic or metal is substituted.