A humerus fracture has a variety of causes which includes vehicular accidents, falls, gunshot wounds and trauma during birth.
In most cases, the injury is categorized as closed where there is no break in the skin over the site of the fracture. Once the skin is broken during an injury, it is called an open fracture. The treatment for a humerus fracture are generally non-surgical but some require surgery to improve the outcome.
Is a splint needed for a humerus fracture?
Most cases of humerus fractures are managed initially using a coaptation splint and then followed by either a hanging cast or functional brace. Surgery is needed if there is damage to the vessels, open fracture, significant soft tissue damage, severe displacement of the fracture and a pathologic-type fracture.
What is a coaptation splint?
A coaptation splint which is heavy padded is positioned under the armpit and wrapped around the elbow and ends at the upper part of the shoulder.
The whole length of the humerus bone is covered by the splint. It is worn for 7-10 days until a definitive treatment is carried out such as with a cast, functional brace or surgery. A sling is worn to provide comfort after this splint has been applied.
Bracing is generally applied 7-10 days after a humerus fracture but can also be used as an initial treatment.
The tension on the brace can be changed to improve the alignment of the damaged fragments. The brace extends beneath the shoulder up above the elbow to overlie the humerus.
Remember though that it does not allow some movement at the site of injury during healing, but the elbow and shoulder movement are allowed which helps maintain the range of motion of these joints during healing.
Disclaimer / More Information
The information posted on this page on a humerus fracture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn how it is managed, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.