WellSpan Home

Shoulder fracture

A fractured shoulder may involve a broken collarbone (clavicle), shoulder blade (scapula), upper arm (humerus), or the shoulder cup (glenoid). This injury might occur when someone falls against an outstretched hand or receives a direct blow to the shoulder.

Sprains, strains, or dislocations may occur at the same time as a fracture. It may be hard to tell the difference between a bad sprain and a fracture.

Signs of a fracture may include:

  • A pop or snap heard or felt at the time of the injury.
  • A shoulder that looks misshapen or out of its normal position.
  • A bone that is or was poking through the skin or is visible in a wound (if it is an open fracture).

Symptoms of a fracture may include:

  • A grating sound or feeling.
  • Pain that is likely to increase with shoulder or arm movement or when pressure is applied to the area.
  • Swelling and bruising that appear within 30 minutes of the injury.
  • Limited shoulder movement (because of weakness, not just pain) or new movement where there is no joint.
  • Loss of normal feeling in the shoulder. The injured area may feel numb and tingly.

Recovery time for a fracture varies depending on the person's age and health and the type and severity of the fracture. A minor break in a child's shoulder may heal completely in a few weeks. In an older person, a serious fracture may require months to heal, and normal shoulder motion may never return.

Initial treatment focuses on keeping the injured shoulder from moving by using a sling or shoulder immobilizer, applying ice, and taking measures to relieve pain. Early physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder and regain motion is important for recovery. Surgery may be needed in some cases. An untreated shoulder fracture may result in long-term pain, limited shoulder movement, and deformity.

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.


Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.