A scapula fracture is an uncommon injury. A scapular fracture is a break in the scapula (shoulder blade). The scapula is a large, triangular, flat bone on each side of the upper back. Each scapula is attached to the humerus (arm bone). In the front, the scapula is connected to the clavicle. Together with the clavicle, the scapula connects the upper arm to the trunk of the body. Scapular fractures occur infrequently. Scapula fractures account for approximately 1% of all fractures. Scapular fractures are more common among men than among women because of their increased incidence of significant blunt trauma. Scapular fractures predominate in persons aged 25-40 years because of the increased occurrence of significant blunt trauma in this population.
The signs and symptoms of a scapular fracture is pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, or a bump in the injured area. The bones may poke through the skin, not look normal, or look out of place. The shoulder and arm may feel weak, numb, and tingly. The three types of scapula fractures. Scapular body fractures are the most common type of scapula fracture. These injuries seldom require any specific treatment more than a simple arm sling. The important fact is that scapular body fractures are commonly (80-90%) associated with other injuries such as lung and chest injuries. Scapular neck fractures occur just adjacent to the glenoid–part of the shoulder joint. Again, most of these fractures can be treated without surgery unless there is significant angulation of the broken bones.
Glenoid fractures include the cartilage surfaces of the shoulder joint. These fractures require surgery when the should joint becomes unstable or if the fragments are far out of alignment. Patients with glenoid fractures are at risk of developing shoulder arthritis. Treatment will depend on the damage and the kind of fracture you have.
Surgery may also be needed to fix a scapula that sticks out through the skin. Pins, plates, and screws may be used to hold the bone together. Use of ice, analgesics, and sling and swath immobilization suffice for most fractures to the body or spine of the scapula. Nondisplaced fractures of the acromion usually can be treated with sling immobilization, ice, and analgesics. Coracoid fractures respond well to conservative therapy with sling immobilization, ice, analgesics, and early mobilization.
Scapular Fractures Treatment and Prevention Tips
1. All stellate glenoid fractures require early orthopedic consultation.
2. Ice packs may be put on your fractured scapula to decrease swelling, pain, and redness.
3. Surgery may also be needed to fix a scapula that sticks out through the skin.
4. Exercises that increase range of motion may be done as the pain decreases.
5. Physical therapy may be needed once swelling and pain are gone to help your scapular fracture heal faster.