shoulderAt the head of the arm’s humerus bone, where the muscles of the rotator cuff are attached, is a rounded section called the greater tuberosity. A dislocation or a fall on the shoulder can cause the greater tuberosity to fracture, leading to pain when lifting the arm or moving the shoulder, and limiting your range of motion.

For a fracture of the greater tuberosity, nonsurgical treatment is often effective. Working with your physician, we will design a rehabilitation program to get your shoulder back into action. Usually, the first step is keeping the shoulder immobilized for up to three weeks to give it time to heal. After that, a typical rehabilitation program starts with daily active and passive range-of-motion exercises of the neck, elbow, wrist and hand, and gentle passive pendulum exercises, followed by icing the shoulder and avoiding any active shoulder motion.

Once the fracture has begun to heal, we will add passive and active assisted range-of-motion exercises in all planes of shoulder motion. Other strengthening exercises, such as shoulder shrugs and scapular retractions, along with isometric strengthening exercises, will be added when they can be tolerated. After six months, the rehabilitation program will expand to include other exercises, including weightlifting and using bands designed to strengthen the shoulder girdle and rotator cuff. Full strength in the shoulder can be restored after nine months.

In some circumstances, your physician may decide that either the traditional open surgery with a long incision or the less invasive arthroscopic surgery, wherein a small instrument is inserted through a small incision, is required. The kind of surgery will depend on the degree of injury to the tendon and the type of tuberosity fracture. After surgery, you will begin a rehabilitation program very similar to the program used for patients who do not undergo surgery.
Every patient is unique. Whether or not you have had surgery to repair your fractured greater tuberosity, we will work with your physician to develop a rehabilitation program that can give you the best chance of restoring full function to your shoulder.

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