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Broken Shoulder Blade (cont.)

Broken Shoulder Blade Follow-up

A broken shoulder blade should receive ongoing treatment by an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine specialist to ensure proper healing.

  • Follow the instructions given when leaving the hospital and avoid potential trauma while recovering.
  • Pain medications and immobilization will likely be needed to control pain while early in the recovery and rehabilitation period. Patients need to keep follow-up appointments and understand that within a timeframe, should be tapered off pain medicines; many pain medicines (hydrocodone, for example), have the potential to become addictive. Problems with pain and pain medicines need to be discussed with the primary care and specialist doctors that are treating the patient.

Broken Shoulder Blade Prevention

Broken shoulder blades can be prevented by avoiding high-risk activities or at least attempting to protect the body when participating in the following sports:

  • Activities with potential for falls from significant heights such as rock climbing, hang-gliding, or skydiving
  • Contact sports (football, hockey), dirt-bike racing, car racing

Gang or street fighting (especially with blunt objects used as weapons such as bricks, boards, baseball bats)

Always wear a seatbelt while driving, and all passengers in the car should wear a seatbelt.

Broken Shoulder Blade Prognosis

Most fractures of the shoulder blade heal without complications within 6-8 weeks. Fractures that involve the shoulder socket or scapular neck develop more complications.

Complications may include the following:

  • Loss of range of motion
  • Loss of strength
  • Persistent pain
  • Bursitis
  • Early arthritis
  • Many people with scapular fractures have other serious injuries, and their prognosis often depends more on the nature of these other injuries (for example, spinal fractures, head injuries, organ damaged such as lacerated spleen or liver).

Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

REFERENCES: Scapular Fracture.

Medscape News. Broken Shoulder Predicts Future Hip Fracture in Older Women.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/25/2016

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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.

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