Fractured shoulder: What are the suitable treatments?

A fractured shoulder might be treated using passive measures such as relief from pain. The reason for this approach is that the injury involves clean breaks that can recuperate on their own.

Only a small percentage of cases necessitate manipulation or surgery to realign the bones in the correct position for healing. The unaffected anatomy on the affected side should be kept comfortable and in good state as the shoulder heals.

Immobilization of a fractured shoulder

The renewing properties of the bone tissues allow rifts to recuperate as the site remains stable. The natural musculoskeletal stability diminishes after a fracture. Healthcare professionals can restore the condition by immobilizing the fractured shoulder.


Cold therapy can be supplemented with pain medications to lessen the discomfort.

An injury often results to the sagging of the shoulder which should be restored into correct alignment to heal. In case the bone fragments are not dislodged, a wrap for the shoulder or sling is required. In case the collarbone or a region of the humerus bone has been shattered, the doctor might reposition the bones and fortified with pins or other mechanisms.

The individual should move the fractured shoulder minimally but maintain mobility in the elbow, arm, wrist and hand during recovery. Healthcare professionals will provide the individual with the guidelines for rest and flexibility exercises. Even though the injury might take up to 12 weeks to recuperate, the rest period can provide relief from pain.

Application of cold

Cold therapy is the conventional treatment for traumatic injury. Right after the injury, swelling and pain can be intense for several days. An ice pack must be applied up to 30 minutes in 3-hour intervals for pain relief and inflammation.

Pain medications

Cold therapy can be supplemented with pain medications to lessen the discomfort. The commonly used medications include acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin.


The doctor generally performs surgery soon after sustaining a fractured shoulder to restore a healthy posture. The displaced bone fragments are rearranged while the individual is given an anesthetic. The damaged muscle or joint tissue near the fracture might also necessitate surgery.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a fractured shoulder is for learning purposes only. Learn more about the treatment options by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.



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