Skip to content

Information and Resources

Font Size
A
A
A

Broken Shoulder Blade

When to Seek Medical Care

Call your doctor if you notice any of these conditions:

  • Pain with movement of the shoulder
  • Swelling of the shoulder
  • Bruising around the shoulder
  • If shoulder pain fails to improve within 3-5 days

Significant trauma to the shoulder, chest wall, back, or neck can cause severe injuries and should be evaluated in a hospital's emergency department.

  • If you experience any of the following with an injury, call 911 for an ambulance immediately:
    • Shortness of breath
    • Decreased sensation in the affected arm
    • Abdominal pain
  • Go to the emergency department for evaluation if you experience the following:
    • Severe pain or deformity of the shoulder
    • Inability to move the shoulder or arm
    • Weakness, numbness, or persistent tingling in the injured arm

Exams and Tests

A doctor will be able to diagnose a broken shoulder blade after a thorough physical examination and imaging.

  • Shoulder and chest X-rays are taken.
  • CT scans of the abdomen and chest are sometimes indicated to evaluate other injuries.
  • MRI or CT scans of the shoulder are sometimes needed to diagnose fractures of the shoulder socket (glenoid).
  • Fractures of the scapula are sometimes discovered during extensive evaluations after major trauma from falls, motor vehicle accidents, or direct trauma.

Broken Shoulder Blade Treatment Self-Care at Home

Because shoulder blade fractures are often associated with severe, potentially life-threatening injuries, they should be evaluated in a hospital's emergency department.

  • Immobilize the arm immediately. Don't move it. This can be accomplished with a sling looped over the neck and the bent elbow, which holds the affected arm close to the body.
  • Apply ice to the area to reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, and avoid direct contact of the ice to the skin.

Medical Treatment

The goal of treatment is to maintain function of the shoulder. Most fractures of the body of the scapula are treated without surgery.

  • Ice is used for swelling, and pain medications are used for pain control.
  • The shoulder is immobilized in a shoulder sling for 3-4 weeks until the pain goes away.

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

sore foot
3 warning signs.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
mature woman holding fan in face
Symptoms and treatments.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms and treatment.
man behind computer screen
10 possible causes.
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Common triggers.
man screaming
Making sense of symptoms.
human liver
What puts you at risk?
restroom sign
Food and drinks that make you go.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

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.