Management of a broken shoulder blade

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An individual can end up with a broken shoulder blade due to vehicular accidents, falls or during sports. Even though some might consider this as a minor injury, it is important to note that there is the possibility for other bodily parts to be involved.

The shoulder blade is positioned on the upper back which connects the upper arm to the chest. The coracoid and acromion processes are the bone-like bumps on the upper part of the scapula and they connect the scapula to the collarbone. Take note that the scapula is surrounded by dense layers of muscle that allow smooth movement of the shoulder joint when engaging in various activities.

Causes of a broken shoulder blade

A scapular fracture is due to direct trauma that involves a large amount of force. The associated injures to the lungs, chest wall and shoulder occurs in most individuals who have a broken shoulder blade. As a result, if the scapula is damaged, other parts of the body must also be assessed for any issues. The usual causes of a broken shoulder blade include vehicular accidents, direct trauma from sports, falls involving direct trauma to the shoulder and falls onto an outstretched arm.

Symptoms of a broken shoulder blade

Broken shoulder blade
Individual holds the arm connected to the injured scapula close to the body.

Bruising, swelling and pain can occur on the shoulder blade in the upper back or top of the shoulder over the acromion and coracoid processes. The typical symptoms include the following:

  • Individual holds the arm connected to the injured scapula close to the body.
  • Pain with each deep breath due to the movement of the chest wall.
  • Unable to lift arm
  • Movement of the arm will aggravate the pain
  • The shoulder appears deformed or flattened

Home treatment of a broken shoulder blade

Since shoulder blade fractures are often linked with severe, life-threatening injuries, it must be properly assessed by a doctor or in the hospital. When managing a broken shoulder blade at home, certain measures must be carried out. You can learn these measures if you will register for first aid training today in your area.

  • Initially, immobilize the affected arm right away. All you have to do is to use a sling that is looped over the neck and elbow joint to hold the affected arm close to the body.
  • Apply an ice pack over the affected area to minimize the discomfort and swelling. The application must be done for 20 minutes at a time and avoid direct contact with the skin. The ice pack must be covered with a clean cloth or towel to prevent damage to the skin.

Take note that there is a high risk for other connected injuries during the time the shoulder injury was sustained. With this in mind, the individual must be taken to the hospital for proper assessment of the condition and prompt treatment can be started to prevent the injury from getting worse.

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