Skip to content

Information and Resources

Broken Shoulder Blade

Font Size
A
A
A

Broken Shoulder Blade Overview

The scapula or shoulder blade is a bony structure found on the upper back that connects the upper arm to the chest wall (thorax). It also forms the socket part of the shoulder joint connecting the upper arm (humerus) to the socket (glenoid). The acromion and coracoid processes are bony bumps found on the upper part of the scapula, and they function to connect the scapula to the collarbone. The scapula is surrounded by thick layers of muscle that are responsible for the smooth movement of the shoulder joint.
 

  • The shoulder blade (scapula) is rarely broken (broken bones are also called fractures). Of all bone breaks, shoulder blade breaks occur less than 1% of the time.
  • Scapular fractures occur more often in young men aged 25-45 years because of the activities and trauma they encounter. These occur with athletic activities, motor vehicle accidents, and other forms of blunt trauma.
  • Broken shoulder blades are often caused by heavy forces that might also include severe injuries to the chest, lungs, and internal organs.
  • Fractures (breaks) have been reported at many areas along the scapula.

Broken Shoulder Blade Causes

Scapular fractures are caused by direct trauma involving a large amount of force or violence. Associated injuries to chest wall, lungs, and shoulder occur in up to 80% of people with broken shoulder blades. Common causes of broken shoulder blades include the following:
 

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls with direct trauma to the shoulder
  • Falls onto an outstretched arm
  • Direct trauma such as from a baseball bat or hammer

Broken Shoulder Blade Symptoms

Pain, swelling, and bruising may occur over the shoulder blade in the upper back or on the top of the shoulder overlying the coracoid and acromion processes.
 

  • You will hold the injured arm close to the body.
  • Movement of the arm will increase the pain.
  • You will be unable to lift the arm.
  • You may have pain with each deep breath due to movement of the chest wall with each breath. This movement may cause movement of the shoulder blade causing pain.
  • Your shoulder may appear flattened or deformed.
1 | 2 | 3

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

feet
Solutions for 19 types.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
pregnancy test and calendar
Helping you get pregnant.
build a better butt
How to build a better butt.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
woman standing behind curtains
How it affects you.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
psoriasis
How to keep flares at bay.
woman dreaming
What Do Your Dreams Say About You?
spinal compression fracture
Treatment options.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.