Humeral Shaft Fracture
(Upper Arm Fracture)
How to Say It: Hu-merr-ull Shaft Fracture
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
The humerus is the long bone in the upper arm. A humeral shaft fracture is a break in the long, narrow part of the bone.
This problem is caused by trauma to the bone from:
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Problems may be:
You will be asked about your symptoms, health history, and how the injury happened. An exam will be done. It will focus on your arm.
Images will be taken of the arm. This can be done with x-rays.
It may take 4 or longer to heal. The goals of treatment are to ease pain and swelling. Medicine can help. Other options are:
Children's bones have growth plates that let bones grow and harden with age. A child with a fracture may need to be checked over time to make sure the bone heals the right way and keeps growing.
Putting Bones Back in Place
Some fractures cause pieces of bone to come apart. These pieces will need to be put back into place. This may be done:
To lower the risk of this type of fracture:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Humeral shaft fracture. Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America website. Available at: https://posna.org/Physician-Education/Study-Guide/Humeral-Shaft-Fractures. Accessed July 29, 2021.
Humeral shaft fracture—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T902926/Humeral-shaft-fracture-emergency-management. Accessed July 29, 2021.
Updegrove GF, Mourad W, et al. Humeral shaft fractures. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2018 Apr;27(4):e87-e97.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated: 7/29/2021