Orthopaedic treatment of humerus fractures

One of the most common injuries in traumatology is the proximal humerus fracture, or fracture of the shoulder. It can occur at any age, but is especially common among the elderly due to osteoporosis and the frequent falls that occur in old age. Humerus fracture recovery time depends on several factors, but it usually takes at least three months for a complete return to everyday activities.

Humerus fracture recovery time and treatment

For recovery, specialists usually opt for conservative treatment if there has been no, or minimal, movement between the fragments. Bones have the ability to consolidate or weld together by themselves through the creation of bone tissue. Treatment will therefore be aimed at facilitating the formation of a bony callus and its consolidation. For this to happen, several conditions need to be fulfilled:

  • The bones have to be in contact in order for the bony callus to form.
  • Immobilisation of the area to prevent instability and enable the damage to repair.
  • Adequate blood supply to the area.
  • Prevention of infections in the area or other risks that could prevent consolidation.
  • Maintenance of good nutrition and hydration.

 

Types of immobilisation during humerus fracture recovery time

To fulfil the first two conditions, during much of the humerus fracture recovery time, you will need to wear a humerus brace like the one manufactured by Orliman. It is a brace that provides immobilisation, protection and stabilisation of the humerus fracture site by means of compression.

This brace is worn for about eight weeks to prevent problems. The Orliman brace features a padded fabric cover and breathable inner lining. This is to prevent discomfort and ensure that you follow the treatment correctly during the entire humerus fracture recovery time. The brace also comes with an arm support strap.

While wearing the brace, do elbow bending and stretching exercises. Also swinging movements of the shoulder. This will prevent muscle atrophy. They should be done progressively and carefully so that they do not affect callus formation. And when the fracture is consolidated, rehabilitation can be started to improve the mobility of the shoulder and elbow joints and increase the muscle strength of the arm.

The other immobilisation options are slings, splints or plaster casts. Choosing which one to use will depend on the severity of the fracture and the circumstances of the patient. Splints and slings allow shoulder and elbow movement, just like the brace, while the plaster is used when full immobilisation is necessary.

Conservative treatment options are preferred by traumatologists because they follow natural processes. In addition, it is always possible to resort to surgery if the fracture does not consolidate well or if problems appear during the humerus fracture recovery time. Be aware though that resorting to surgery does not greatly reduce humerus fracture recovery time. It may shorten it somewhat but it will still take about three months. And for older people with osteoporosis, the humerus fracture recovery time can increase by 20-30%.

If you need to recover from a humerus fracture, follow your doctor’s instructions correctly, especially with regard to immobilisation of the arm. And try not to speed up recovery. This will only result in poor consolidation and the likely need for an operation.

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