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Upper Arm Fractures

(Proximal Humeral Fractures; Shoulder Fractures)

By Danielle Campagne, MD

Upper arm fractures occur at the upper end of the upper arm bone (humerus), affecting the shoulder joint.

Upper arm fractures usually result from a fall on an outstretched arm. Sometimes they result from a direct blow. Usually, the broken pieces of bone do not move out of place and thus tend to heal on their own.

Upper arm fractures are common among older people.

Fracturing the Upper Arm

Fractures that occur in the upper part of the upper arm bone (humerus) cause pain in the shoulder because the upper arm bone is part of the shoulder joint. The upper arm bone may fracture in different places. One example is shown below.

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