Proximal humeral fracture and physical therapy

It is a fracture that occurs near your shoulder joint. The term proximal in anatomy refers to being close to your body and humeral is the arm bone so we can say a proximal humeral fracture means the fracture near your shoulder joint

 It is one of the most painful fractures that can limit the ability to move your arm and shoulder properly. It can greatly affect your ability to work and perform your daily activities as you perform most of the activities from your upper limb and in this injury upper limb is affected severely. Learn more


The most common symptoms of a proximal humeral fracture are

  • Feeling intense pain in your arm wrist and hand
  • Difficulty in moving your hand and shoulders
  • Swelling in your hand and shoulders
  • Discoloration of your upper arm and shoulders
  • Bruising on your shoulder and upper arm


Mostly fracture of the proximal humerus occur because of the sudden trauma to your arm or shoulder such in FOOSH injury is most common in senior age people because they have bone loss due to osteoporosis and osteopenia. Most of the time proximal humerus injury occur because of

  • Falling onto your outstretched hand (FOOSH injury)
  • An a sudden and very forceful pull on your shoulder
  • Falling on your shoulder

How physical therapy can help

Your first appointment with the physical therapist may be immediately after injury in the hospital the physical therapist will start your session with instructions on how to properly wear your sling. A physical therapist will also teach you gentle pendulum exercises to keep your shoulder moving even with the sling and they also let you know if it is safe to perform these exercises or not.

After 4 to 6 weeks when your sling is removed then physical therapy treatment can be continued which includes the evaluation of the moment of your shoulder and Arm. After evaluation, your physical therapist will provide you with an outline of exercises that can help you to achieve the five main goals of the physical therapy treatment which are 

  • increasing the range of motion by different exercises such as rotational exercises and moving you’re I am in all direction
  • A long immobilization period can significantly reduce your arm strength so various strengthening exercises are done which will focus on your rotator cuff muscles biceps and triceps
  • Several techniques such as electrical nerve stimulation and hot and cold pack are used to reduce the pain and swelling

The proximal humeral fracture can alter your life properly because it affects your upper limb and you perform almost all the functions with the help of your upper limb but with the physical therapy treatment you can return to your normal life quickly and your symptoms are depressed as well.
Catch on to your therapists

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