A broken shoulder blade is caused by a direct trauma usually a substantial force. The injury might even affect other areas of the body. The shoulder blade is located on the upper part of the back that attaches the upper arm to the thorax.
The shoulder blade is enclosed by dense layers of muscle that enables smooth motion of the joint. Young men ages 25-45 are susceptible to a broken shoulder blade due to certain activities and trauma they encounter in sports, vehicular accidents and other forms of trauma.
Causes of a broken shoulder blade
- Falling with direct trauma to the shoulder
- Vehicular accidents
- Falling onto an outstretched arm
- Direct trauma
- Swelling, pain and bruising over the shoulder blade in the upper back
- Inability to lift the arm
- Holding the damaged arm close to the body
- Pain when performing deep breathing due to the movement of the chest wall with every breath.
- The shoulders appear flattened
- Pain when moving the shoulder
- Bruising around the affected shoulder
- Rest the affected area.
- If there is bleeding, use a cloth or towel to apply direct pressure for at least 15 minutes. If the cloth is already soaked with blood, apply another cloth over the first layer.
- Support the injured area by making a sling. Place a triangular bandage under it and over the affected shoulder and tie the sling at the side of the neck which holds the affected arm close to the body to prevent unnecessary movement and for promote healing of the condition for 3-4 weeks until the pain settles.
- Apply an ice pack to the affected area to lessen the swelling and discomfort for at least 20 minutes at a time.
- Seek the help of the physical therapist for rehabilitation exercises to improve the range of motion of the shoulder.
- Avoid performing activities such as hang-gliding, rock climbing or skydiving to prevent the risk of falls.
- Minimize playing contact sports.
- Wear seatbelts when driving.
The material posted on this page for a broken shoulder blade is for learning purposes only. If you want to learn to manage broken bones including a broken shoulder blade, register for a first aid course with a training provider near you.