Shoulder fracture: How to utilize an arm sling

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A shoulder fracture often involves significant trauma for it to occur. In such injuries, the doctor will decide to immobilize the damaged shoulder by placing the affected arm in a sling until the bones recuperate. An individual with the injury should carefully follow the treatment suggestions by the doctor.

Do I have a shoulder fracture?

A shoulder fracture is generally marked with the following signs:

  • Significant pain or discomfort when the arm is stirred
  • Inflammation around the back part of the shoulder
  • Skin abrasions

An X-ray is taken to determine the extent of the injury and start the appropriate treatment. In most cases, the scapular body is also damaged.

Make the necessary adjustments on the strap to avoid any shoulder pain and keep the arm at a 90-degree angle.

Management of a shoulder fracture

Generally, a shoulder fracture necessitates surgery. Nevertheless, in most cases, a fracture heals on its own if immobilized.

A simple sling usually works in keeping the joint in place. Physical therapy is recommended by the doctor which includes range of motion exercises in a span of 2-4 weeks. Full range of motion might take up to a year to return. In addition, passive stretching and other exercises for the shoulder can help restore the shoulder to its full function.

When an arm sling is used, the elbow should be flexed at a 90-degree angle across the waist. The strap of the sling should be secured at the back of the neck and assist the individual in gently placing his/her arm in the sling. Remember that the elbow must comfortably rest within the closed end of the sling. Make the necessary adjustments on the strap to avoid any shoulder pain and keep the arm at a 90-degree angle.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a shoulder fracture is for learning purposes only. Learn how the injury is managed by taking a standard first aid course with Mississauga First Aid.

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