Humeral head fracture

Regain movement thanks to individual therapy

Overlooking a step on the stairs, slipping on an icy patch in front of your front door or falling on a mountain bike – if you land on your shoulder, this can quickly lead to a humeral head fracture (proximal humerus fracture). 

Our specialists specialise in treating a humeral head fracture and will find the right therapy together with you. 

Causes & symptoms

What do we understand by a humeral head fracture?

The humerus has a large head. This is three times larger than the socket. It gives the shoulder a wide range of movement: the shoulder joint is our most mobile joint. A fracture of the humeral head is the fourth most common fracture in adults. A humeral head fracture often occurs in people over 60 years of age. Apart from osteoporosis, an advanced age is one of the greatest risk factors for a humeral head fracture. Women are affected more often than men. 

Causes of a humeral head fracture

A simple fall from a standing position or slipping on a smooth surface is often all it takes in osteoporosis patients. An obstacle such as a kerb or unevenness in the floor can also lead to a fall. The impact during these accidents is not particularly high and yet they often cause a humeral head fracture. 

However, a humeral head fracture can also affect younger people. Sports accidents (skiing, mountain biking) are usually responsible. Car and bicycle accidents or falls from a ladder are also possible causes of a humeral head fracture. 

Symptoms of a humeral head fracture

If severe shoulder pain occurs after a fall or accident, this may be an indication of a humeral head fracture. Most patients cannot move their arm without pain. A humeral head fracture also causes haematomas or swellings with a slight delay. Some people feel a crack when trying to move their shoulder. A few days after the injury, there are clear bruises, discolorations and the haematoma moves towards the upper arm and elbow. Injuries to the nerves or open injuries are rare symptoms of a humeral head fracture. 


This is how we diagnose a humeral head fracture

At the beginning of the diagnosis, we record your external injuries. Our specialists then carefully feel your pain points and test the function of your muscles and nerves. Our goal is to find secondary injuries or exclude them.

Imaging procedures for a humeral head fracture

The physical examination is followed by imaging procedures. We take an X-ray of your shoulder joint. Our experts can already see whether you have a humeral head fracture in this image. If you are diagnosed with a humeral head fracture, we often also perform computed tomography (CT). This allows us to see the full extent of your injury, the degree of displacement and the stability of the humeral head fracture. In some cases, magnetic resonance imaging may also be necessary.