Patients suffering from a broken (fractured) upper humerus can benefit greatly from physical therapy exercises and treatment. While patients should seek the assistance from a licensed physical therapist, many exercises can be completed at home to help prompt proper injury healing.
Depending on the severity of the fracture and if surgical setting was needed to mend the break, patients should first start home treatment with very simple, non-weight-bearing movements. According to eMedicineHealth.com, the primary focus is to maintain arm stability during movement. For example, patients can keep the affected arm in a sling by utilising a clean towel draped around the neck and supporting the arm at the elbow. While moving the injured limb, movement should first start at the shoulder and minimal rotation should occur as to minimise the possibility of further injury via the introduction of torque to the joint. Exercise duration should be kept to a minimum and immediately followed by the introduction of ice packs and joint elevation.
Under the supervision and recommendation of a health care professional, patients may be able to partake in resistance-based movements in order to strengthen the shoulder and major arm muscle groups. According to NY Physical Therapy and Wellness, these exercises will assist in the promotion of blood circulation around the injury, which is critical to the bone fracture healing process. Within time, patients may be able to graduate to more difficult exercises (such as push-ups or chin-ups) and incorporate increased weight-bearing to further promote muscle strengthening.
Range of Motion (ROM) Exercises
In order to maintain normal joint movement around the upper arm and shoulder, patients can use passive stretching movements while at home. For example, sliding the affected arm up a wall to the point of initial discomfort will help promote increased flexion of the shoulder and minimise the risk of joint "freezing," as is common in many fracture cases. Since upper humerus fractures will require the use of a sling when not exercising, ROM activities are vital to maintaining natural anatomic movement in the arm.