Scapular injuries

The scapula is one of the main bones of the shoulder joint. It stabilizes the shoulder from the back side. Fractures of the scapula are not common but can occur in high-energy impact injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes or falls. Scapula fractures may be serious when the part of the scapula involving the shoulder joint is injured.

A scapula fracture may be a sign that a serious injury to the heart, lungs, spine, or blood vessels in the chest has occurred.

Symptoms of a scapular fracture include tenderness over the scapula and inability to raise the affected arm. The affected shoulder may look flattened.

Most scapular fractures can be treated without surgery. Treatment includes a sling for immobilizing the shoulder, ice, medications to reduce pain and swelling, and range-of-motion exercises.

Last Updated: September 19, 2009

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