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Broken Shoulder Blade
(Fractured Scapula)

Broken Shoulder Blade Overview

The scapula or shoulder blade is a bony structure found on the upper back that connects the upper arm to the chest wall (thorax). It also forms the socket part of the shoulder joint connecting the upper arm (humerus) to the socket (glenoid). The acromion and coracoid processes are bony bumps found on the upper part of the scapula, and they function to connect the scapula to the collarbone. The scapula is surrounded by thick layers of muscle that are responsible for the smooth movement of the shoulder joint.

  • The shoulder blade (scapula) is rarely broken (broken bones are also called fractures). Shoulder blades breaks comprise less than 1% of all fractures.
  • Scapular fractures occur more often in young men aged 25-45 years because of the activities and trauma they encounter. These occur with athletic activities, motor vehicle accidents, and other forms of blunt trauma.
  • A heavy force is usually required to break a shoulder blade; therefore, the health care professional will explore other injuries when a patient has a broken shoulder blade.
  • Fractures (breaks) have been reported at the many areas of bone that comprise the scapula.

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Fractures, Scapular »

The primary function of the scapula is to attach the upper extremity to the thorax and provide a stabilized platform for upper extremity movement.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary