The Humerus: What Is It, And What To Do If You Break It?
The Humerus: What Is It, And What To Do If You Break It?

The Humerus: What Is It, And What To Do If You Break It?

The humerus is one of the bones in the arm, found betwen the shoulder and the elbow. It can be subject to a range of fractures. But what is it exctly, and what should you do if you break it? Here is some advice.

The humerus is part of a pair of asymmetric bones in the upper half of the body. It is a long bone which can be found in the arm, between the shoulder and the elbow. It is joined to the shoulder by the scapula, and to the elbow by two bones in the forearm called the radius and ulna.

Humerus fractures

Symptoms

Humerus fractures cause extreme pain in the arm, a total loss of function as well as swelling around the affected area.

Causes

For patients below the age of 60 years old, humerus fracture are often contracted from high-energy activities such as falling off a bike, skiing or skateboarding. Fractures sustained by older people are more likely to be caused by falls from a height which are made worse if the patient already suffers from osteoporosis.

Humerus fractures usually occur in two different areas on the tip of the humerus:

- prominent, rounded ares on the bone, where the muscles slot together and allow the shoulder to move

- around the joint, which allows the right sort of movement between the two bony parts which are the humerus and the acromion, which is part of the scapula joint.

Treatment

Once an x-ray has confirmed the diagnosis, treating the fracture involves restricting the arm's movement by holding the elbow close to the body. If moving the arm is crucial to save the shoulder from incurable damages, surgery may be necessary. This requires fixing the bone in place with metal plates and centromedullary pins.

By Stacey Williams
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