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Scapular Fracture


A scapular fracture is a break in the scapula (shoulder blade). The scapula is a large, flat bone shaped like a triangle that is located on each side of your upper back.

Shoulder Anatomy



  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine. If your pain medicine contains acetaminophen, do not take over-the-counter acetaminophen as well. Too much acetaminophen can damage your liver.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her 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.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or orthopedist within 2 to 3 days:

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


Talk to your healthcare provider or orthopedist before you start to exercise. Start slowly and do more as you get stronger. Exercise will help make your bones and muscles stronger. Do not play contact sports, such as football and wrestling, while your scapula is still healing. Ask when you can start playing contact sports.

Physical therapy:

You may need physical therapy once your swelling and pain have improved. A physical therapist will teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength.


Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your scapula for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.

Sling care:

Healthcare providers may put your arm in a sling to support your scapula while it heals. Keep your sling clean, and adjust it so that your arm is comfortable.


Rest when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.

Contact your healthcare provider or orthopedist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have more swelling than you did before your arm was put into the sling.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You cannot move your fingers.
  • Any part of your arm becomes blue, pale, cold, or numb.
  • Your pain is not relieved or gets worse, even after you take medicine.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Scapular Fracture (Aftercare Instructions)

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