The humerus bone is one of the longest bones inside your upper arm which extends from your shoulder to your elbow. In this area it joins with the radius bones of the forearm. If there is a fracture in your humerus, it means the breaking of this bone. This also means that if you feel the pain of a humerus fracture it could go all the way up to your shoulder and down to your elbow, mostly depending on where the bone has been broken. The recovery of this fracture could take a little more than a couple of months. Let’s share with you some of the common types of humerus fractures and how much time they take to heal.
Types Of Humerus Bone Fracture
There are three types of humerus fracture, and it entirely depends on the location where the fracture happens:
1. Proximal: A proximal humerus fracture refers to a fracture in the upper part of your humerus bone, which is located near the shoulder.
2. Mid-shaft: A fracture in the mid-shaft means a break in the middle of the humerus bone.
3. Distal: A distal fracture refers to a fracture near the elbow. This is the most complex of the three types of humerus fractures as it could also involve losing bone fragments.
What Is The Cause Of Broken Humerus Bone?
If you are hit by a hard blow or injury in your arm it could result in a humerus fracture, but the type could differ. For example, a high-impact accident such as a car accident or even a football tackle could cause you a distal humerus fracture.
You could also have humerus fracture because of pathologic fracture which is the result of weakening of bones. In this condition, your bones become vulnerable to breaking as a result of everyday activities. Pathologic humerus fracture could be caused by bone cancer, bone tumor or even a bone infection.
How Can A Broken Humerus Bone Be Treated?
There are various factors that affect the treatment of a humerus fracture which includes the type of fracture or whether there are loose bone fragments. The first step to understanding is by getting an X-Ray done of your arm. This will help you determine what is the type of fracture you are having and also if there are any further injuries. In some cases, if it is a proximal or mid-shaft humerus fracture it won’t require surgery because the broken ends will still be close to each other, making the humerus to heal easier. However, even then you have to wear a brace, or a splint to prevent too much movement of your arm and also make your shoulder stable. Sometimes if the fracture gets serious, it could also lead to replacement of shoulder joint with the help of prosthesis.
Distal fractures and some severe form of proximal or mid-shaft fracture require surgery and there are two main approaches that a surgeon is likely to use:
1. Pins and screws: If the fracture is an open now, it means a part of the bone sticking through the skin. In this case, the surgeon will clean up the broken ends first and then use pins and screws to hold the broken ends together in its place.
2. Bone grafting: If more than one bone has been broken or crushed, then your surgeon will take a piece of bone from another spot of your body or from another donor and then add it to the humerus plate. If the issue is more serious, then artificial material is also used to create a new piece of bone.
It does not matter if you need a surgery or not, you will definitely need physical therapy to recover. This will help you move your muscles and flex it in the right way and then regain the strength and motion of the area back.
How Long Will It Take For The Broken Humerus Bone To Heal?
The period of healing will depend on what type of fracture you are having. If it is the kind of fracture that does not require surgery, then you can do with wearing a sling for somewhere between two to six weeks. Proximal fractures require more time but it is distal fracture that takes the most amount of time. During the period of wearing the sling, or splint or brace for some weeks, keep following up with the doctor so that they can evaluate how fast your fracture will heal. If there is more than one fracture then you have to do a couple of X-rays for a few months until you are able to return back to normal. Physical therapy is utmost important to help you regain the lost motion of your bones and joints.
Humerus fracture heal over time and rarely cause any kind of long term health problem. If you want a smooth recovery process, keep following up with your doctor or physiotherapist so that your chances of recovery is quick. A good treatment, which includes physical therapy and exercises will help you regain the strength you lose and also flexibility of your muscles.