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Broken Shoulder Blade (cont.)

Broken Shoulder Blade Symptoms

Pain, swelling, and bruising may occur over the shoulder blade in the upper back or on the top of the shoulder overlying the coracoid and acromion processes.

  • The person will hold the arm connected to the injured scapula close to the body.
  • Movement of the arm will increase the scapular pain.
  • The person will be unable to lift the arm connected to the fractured scapula.
  • The person may have pain with each deep breath due to movement of the chest wall with each breath. This movement may cause movement of the broken shoulder blade causing pain.
  • The person's shoulder with the fractured scapula may appear flattened or deformed.

When to Seek Medical Care

Call a doctor if these conditions exist, especially if they are associated with any trauma to the shoulder area or upper back.

  • Pain with movement of the affected shoulder
  • Swelling of the shoulder
  • Bruising around the shoulder
  • If shoulder pain fails to improve within 3-5 days

Significant trauma to the shoulder, chest wall, back, or neck can cause severe injuries and should be evaluated in a hospital's emergency department.

If a person experiences the following, call 911 for an ambulance immediately:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Decreased sensation in the affected arm
  • Abdominal pain

A person should go to the emergency department for evaluation if he or she experiences the following:

  • Severe pain or deformity of the shoulder
  • Inability to move the shoulder or arm
  • Weakness, numbness, or persistent tingling in the injured arm
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/25/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

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 »


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