Fractures of the upper arm bone (humerus) usually occur near the shoulder. These fractures are common after a fall on an outstretched arm or after a direct blow. Symptoms include pain and an inability to raise the arm. Fractures of the middle of the humerus sometimes damage the radial nerve. Radial nerve damage leads to an inability to lift up the wrist. Most of these fractures can be treated with a sling and swathe. Surgery is needed if the fracture pieces are widely separated. If the fracture affects the shoulder joint, a prosthetic implant (partial shoulder replacement) may be needed.
Last full review/revision December 2008 by James R. Roberts, MD