Scapula Fracture – Flower Mound, TX
Scapula is a bone structure that is a part of the shoulder joint and is for the upper body movement. It is also referred to as the shoulder blade. It is a flat, triangular shaped bone and is protected as well as supported by a group of muscles, bones and other soft tissue structures that surround it. Scapula is considered to be a relatively stable bone and therefore Scapula Fractures are not a common occurrence. This bone easily moves in different directions and is not susceptible to dislocations or breakage. Scapula Fractures have been observed to occur in association with damage other body parts around it such as the collar bone (clavicle), ribs, spinal cord and lungs. Research shows that Scapula Fractures form only 1% of the total number of fractures reported in the patients as they are caused only by major traumas or injuries.

Causes

  • Preventing the body from a fall by stretching the hand or arms outwards may stress the shoulder joint
  • Severe trauma or high energy collisions caused during vehicular accidents
  • Direct hit or trauma caused to the joint especially when hit by a blunt object
  • A fall on the shoulder from a height

Symptoms

  • As this condition is caused by high energy trauma, open wounds may be seen
  • Severe pain may be reported by the patient immediately after the injury. Movement of the upper body parts like the arm, hands, shoulder aggravates the pain
  • Swelling and tenderness can be felt when the shoulder or the thoracic region is touched
  • The feeling or sound of bones grinding when the arm is moved, referred to as Crepitus, may be reported
  • Range of motion in the upper body is affected considerably
  • Bruising and discoloration may also occur

Diagnosis

  • A thorough clinical examination of the patient, the injured shoulder is required by an orthopedic. Additional injuries if any are also noted
  • X-ray imaging to analyze the bone structure
  • CT scan or an MRI are needed for a detailed view of the soft tissue structures and the scapula as it is hidden between the other bones of the shoulder joint
  • Nerve conduction tests may be required in case the doctor suspects loss of sensation or impulses in the arms and hands. This also helps diagnose damage to the blood vessels if any

Treatment

  • Most scapula fractures can be treated with conservative methods in most cases although surgery may be needed in some of them. One or more of the following methods may be applied
  • Some gentle stretching exercises that promote joint mobility and flexibility post immobilization may be useful. It prevents joint stiffness
  • The shoulder is required to be immobilized using a sling for some time until the pain and other symptoms subside. The sling helps support the joint, keep it in place and the soft tissues heal faster
  • Prescription of anti-inflammatory medicines and pain killers may help the patient cope with the condition
  • Surgical reduction- in case of displaced bones, the scapula is surgically repositioned and then fastened using metal screws, plates and pins.
  • Scapula fractures require about 6 months to one year to heal completely. Regular physical therapy sessions need to be incorporated to restore joint function