Fractured Shoulder Treatment
Treatment for a shoulder fracture includes rest, a sling, cold compresses, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. More severe pain is treated with narcotic pain medications. Most shoulder fractures can be treated without surgery. The need for surgery is based the type of fracture, its severity, and extent of involvement of the shoulder joint. Shoulder fractures require physical therapy as part of the healing process to maintain shoulder range of motion and muscle strength.
Treatment for a shoulder fracture may include:
- Shoulder immobilizer
- Long term immobilization in a sling can lead to frozen shoulder.
- If you wear a shoulder sling for longer than a week make sure you perform shoulder range of motion exercises twice a day to avoid frozen shoulder.
- Cold compresses
- Apply for 20 minutes at a time, 2 to 3 times per day
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, NeoProfen)
- Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Aleve)
- Narcotic pain medication:
- For moderate to severe pain
- For short term use only
- Physical therapy for shoulder fracture:
- Gentle range of motion may be started after 7 to 10 days with stable shoulder fractures
- More formal rehab is usually started three or weeks after injury when bone healing has occurred.
- Important to preserve range of motion in the joint and avoid adhesive capsulitis.
- Occupational therapy
- Surgery for shoulder fracture:
- Most shoulder fractures do not require surgery
Fractured Shoulder Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of shoulder fracture.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Will I need surgery?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- Do I need a special exercise program?
- Will I need physical therapy?
- Will I need occupational therapy?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for having a shoulder fracture again?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Fractured Shoulder Specialist
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat a shoulder fracture:
Continue to Fractured Shoulder Home Care
- Ameh V, Crane S. Nerve injury following shoulder dislocation: the emergency physician's perspective. Eur J Emerg Med. 2006 Aug;13(4):233-5. 
- Emond M, Le Sage N, Lavoie A, Rochette L. Clinical factors predicting fractures associated with an anterior shoulder dislocation. Acad Emerg Med. 2004 Aug;11(8):853-8.
- Flinkkila T, Hyvonen P, Siira P, Hamalainen M. Recovery of shoulder joint function after humeral shaft fracture: a comparative study between antegrade intramedullary nailing and plate fixation. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2004 Oct;124(8):537-41. 
- Ide J, Honda K, Takagi K. Posterior dislocation of the shoulder associated with fracture of the humeral anatomical neck with 11-year follow-up after early open reduction and internal fixation. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2003 Apr;123(2-3):118-20. 
- Lim KE, Wang CR, Chin KC, Chen CJ, Tsai CC, Bullard MJ. Concomitant fracture of the coracoid and acromion after direct shoulder trauma. J Orthop Trauma. 1996;10(6):437-9. 
- Safran MR. Nerve injury about the shoulder in athletes, part 1: suprascapular nerve and axillary nerve. Am J Sports Med. 2004 Apr-May;32(3):803-19. 
- Serin E, Karatosun V, Balci C, Koseoglu HC, Ersoy HH. Two-prong splint in the treatment of proximal humeral fracture. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 1999;119(7-8):368-70. 
- Shao YC, Harwood P, Grotz MR, Limb D, Giannoudis PV. Radial nerve palsy associated with fractures of the shaft of the humerus: a systematic review. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2005 Dec;87(12):1647-52.