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Healing From a Broken Shoulder: What to Expect

You can break your shoulder for several reasons, including falls, car accidents, and contact sports. But, no matter what caused your fracture, Dr. Jared Tadje at Tadje Orthopaedics can ensure you have an optimal recovery.

As an orthopedic trauma surgeon in Meridian, Idaho, Dr. Tadje provides nonsurgical and surgical solutions for shoulder fractures. He offered these insights into broken shoulders and what you can expect as you heal.

Shoulder break basics

Your shoulder contains three bones: 

You can break any of these bones, but collarbone fractures are most common in young people. In those over 65, fractures in the humerus fractures are more prevalent. Shoulder breaks involving the scapula are less common and typically occur because of high-energy traumas, like car accidents.

There are two classifications for shoulder fractures: nondisplaced and displaced. Approximately 80% of fractures fall into the nondisplaced category, meaning your shoulder bones stay in the proper position despite the fracture. In most cases, Dr. Tadje can treat these types of injuries with nonsurgical methods.

If you have a displaced shoulder fracture, broken pieces and fragments of your bones move out of position. These types of shoulder breaks often require surgery to realign your broken bones.

Treating broken shoulders

In order to heal correctly from a broken shoulder, you need proper treatment.

Nonsurgical fracture treatments

Based on your shoulder break, Dr. Tadje could recommend conservative treatments like immobilizing your arm with a wrap or sling while your bones heal. This approach could also involve medications to help manage pain and physical therapy to strengthen muscles in the area and safely restore range of motion to your shoulder.

Surgical fracture treatments

These treatments can vary depending on the severity of your break and its location. In some cases, Dr. Tadje could realign and stabilize the broken bones with hardware, like screws, pins, or plates, or he could also repair soft tissue damage or bone grafting.

For severe cases, Dr. Tadje could recommend a partial or total shoulder replacement surgery. These procedures focus on removing and replacing damaged parts of a joint with new prosthetic pieces. Shoulder replacements can ease pain, improve function, and restore range of motion in a severely damaged shoulder.

Recovering from a broken shoulder

Healing from a shoulder fracture takes time and can take anywhere from three months to a year, depending on your injury and treatment.

Whether you undergo nonsurgical or surgical treatment options, it’s key to follow Dr. Tadje’s instructions. If you move your shoulder too early while recovering, you can delay the healing process. At the same time, you have to maintain some movement while resting your shoulder or you can experience too much stiffness.

It’s also important to follow your physical therapy program to maximize your recovery and improve your results. You can rest easy knowing that Dr. Tadje monitors your progress every step of the way to ensure your healing stays on track.

If you have a broken shoulder, don’t wait to find expert care in the Boise area. Contact our office at 208-231-7851 or request an appointment online today.

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