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Proximal Humerus Fracture


A proximal humerus fracture is a crack or break in the top of your upper arm bone. The proximal humerus is one of the bones in your shoulder joint. This type of fracture may be caused by a fall, trauma from a car accident, or a sports injury.

Shoulder Anatomy


Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your pain does not get better or gets worse, even after you rest and take medicine.
  • Your arm, hand, or fingers feel numb.
  • The skin over your fracture is swollen, cold, or pale.
  • You cannot move your arm, hand, or fingers.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your sling gets wet, damaged, or falls off.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

A sling

may be needed to hold your broken bones in place. It will decrease your arm movement and allow the bones to heal.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Rest your arm as much as possible. Ask your healthcare provider when you can move your arm. Also ask when you can return to sports or vigorous exercises.
  • Apply ice on your arm for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Go to physical therapy as directed. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.