Most people think that the shoulder is made up of only one bone when in fact, it is made up of three types of bones: the collarbone (clavicle), the humerus (upper arm bone), and the shoulder blade (scapula). If any of these three bones get fractured, pain, swelling, tenderness, and a limited range of motion will be experienced by the injured person.
The shoulder fracture can either be displaced or non-displaced. Most fractures are non-displaced, meaning the bone is separated but are still aligned and have not moved from their original position. If the shoulder had been displaced, the bones on opposite sides of the joint are no longer aligned.
The clavicle is the bone that serves as the connection between the shoulder blade and breastplate. This is the most common shoulder fracture experienced by children, frequently resulting from a fall, direct trauma, or contact sports. The fracture causes the shoulder to sag downwards and is accompanied by a bump, which is the prominent end of the fracture under the skin. The injured person will have difficulty raising the arm because the ends of the broken bones rub off against each other, creating the unnecessary friction.
The humerus is the bone located at the upper part of the arm that rotates within the shoulder socket. This fracture is experienced by people who have osteoporosis, a medical condition where the bones become weak and brittle, making them more susceptible to a fracture.
The scapula is a flat, triangular bone that connects the humerus and the clavicle. The scapula fracture is the rarest type of fracture because the shoulder blade does not break quite so easily, and it is protected by the chest and surrounding muscles.
If the shoulder fracture is severe, it needs to be seen by a San Diego orthopedic surgeon so that the right treatment plan can be implemented and the road to recovery can begin right away.