The clavicle is the bone that stretches from your neck to your shoulder above your ribcage. It’s also known as the collarbone. This bone lends support to your shoulder, so when it’s injured, it can make using your shoulder difficult and painful. Proximal humeral fractures are when the ball or neck of the humerus is broken. The humerus is your upper arm bone, and the ball and neck of the bone connect to your shoulder.
When these bones are injured, surgery may be necessary to repair them and restore full function to the arm and shoulder.
Proximal humeral fractures are common with people who fall on outstretched arms, those who have been in a car accident, or someone who has fallen from a great height. Elderly people with osteoporosis or other conditions that weaken bones are more prone to ball fractures of the humerus. Patients of both reported pain and the inability to lift their arms.
Clavicle fractures or collarbone fractures are more common in children and athletes, in part because the collarbone doesn’t harden completely until about age 20. That means direct blows can cause damage more easily in children and teenagers.
Surgery to repair these fractures involves ORIF (open reduction internal fixation) procedures where an incision is made so a metal plate can be attached to the humerus to hold it in place while it heals. ORIF surgery can also be used to repair the clavicle, usually with a metal plate or screws.
Recovery can take 8-12 weeks. After several weeks of healing, patients will begin physical therapy to regain function in the arm. Most patients report returning to normal function within a few months.