GT Humerus Fracture | Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand | Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty

Greater Tuberosity Humerus Fracture

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What has happened?

  • You have broken the top part of your arm bone (humerus) - part of the shoulder joint
  • These are common injuries and most do not require surgery

What should I expect?

  • Your shoulder may be painful and tender and you may struggle to move it normally
  • You may develop bruising that goes down the arm and elbow - this is normal
  • You will be placed in a sling in the Emergency Department (ED) and this will help with the pain early on, but it may take several months for your to return to your normal activities. Complete healing takes approximately 6-12 weeks.
  • You will need to wear your sling at all times, except when bathing and doing arm exercises for around 4-6 weeks

What should I do?

  • Take regular pain relief (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) as needed
  • You should begin to bend/straighten your elbow out of the sling and move your fingers/wrist as soon and as regularly as comfort allows
  • As you feel comfortable, you can start to hang the arm out of the sling and perform 'pendulum exercises' (stand and lean forward, relaxing your injured arm towards the ground, then make small side to side, forwards and back and circular movements with your injured arm).
  • You may find it more comfortable while sitting or sleeping to prop your arm up on 1-2 pillows
  • If you have not been referred by the hospital, you may want to book an appointment with a physiotherapist who can provide movements and strengthening exercises to aid your recovery - remember to take your ACC number

What should I not do?

  • Do not use your injured arm to lift heavy objects
  • Do not lift your arm above shoulder height
  • You may be unable to drive at this time
  • Try to reduce or stop smoking as this may delay bone healing

Will I be followed up?

  • Yes, a follow-up appointment in the Orthopaedic Clinic will be requested when you leave the Emergency Department (ED) and you will be contacted regarding a date and time

What if I have concerns/questions?

  • If your injury is not settling or you have other concerns, you should see your GP first - take your ACC form/number with you
  • Please seek medical attention if you have persistent tingling/numbness, or if the pain is worsening.