A proximal humeral fracture is a serious injury to the humerus bone, the rounded upper part of the arm bone that rotates within the shoulder socket.

These fractures typically occur as the result of a trauma, such as the impact of a fall or a car accident, and can affect people of any age and gender. However, individuals who suffer from osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle, may have an increased risk of humeral fracture.

The symptoms of a proximal humeral fracture include:

Severe pain


Swelling and tenderness

Severely restricted shoulder motion

Cracking or popping sound when the arm is moved

Numbness and tingling in the arm, forearm, or hand

A shoulder specialist at Lancaster Orthopedic Group can diagnose a proximal humeral fracture by performing a thorough physical examination and diagnostic imaging. He or she will often take an X-ray to confirm the fracture and an MRI or CT scan if further information is needed.

Treatment of a nondisplaced fracture, in which the bone has separated but is not out of position, may not require surgery. A supportive sling to promote bone healing followed by physical therapy to restore proper function of the shoulder and arm may help patients maintain a pain-free shoulder.

Displaced fractures, in which the pieces of bone separated and shifted out of position, typically require reconstructive surgery to realign and fix the fractured bone segments and restore function to the shoulder.