The Humerus Fracture | Analysis of a Broken Upper Arm

The Humerus is the long bone of the upper arm. A fracture is a broken bone. When these two come together, big problems can arise, usually needing surgery to fix properly. Here is an analysis of the Humerus fracture by Toby Ortho.

The Anatomy

The humerus connects the shoulder to the elbow. The proximal humerus connects the to the shoulder by the rotator cuff muscles where the distal humerus which connects to the forearm. The shaft is the length of humerus.

Depending on where a fracture is caused, whether it be on the shaft, or closer to the proximal or distal humerus, surgery may or may not be necessary for proper healing.

Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis

Most humerus fractures are caused by trauma, meaning  direct impact to the area. Events like sports, car accidents, and falls can attribute to these fractures.

The symptoms of upper arm fractures can be varied, depending on if nerves are damage. Pain is obviously the most common symptom, weakness, tenderness, and odd sensations in the lower arm/ hand.

X-Rays are the most common way doctors diagnose humerus fractures. However, CT scans are also used in some cases as well.


There are various ways to treat a humerus fracture. Keeping the arm in a sling to relieve pressure on the fracture is one way.

In more extreme fracture cases, surgery may be needed along with bone screws that will compress the two pieces together,

View our post on the different types of bone screws:

Treatment will always require rehabilitation in order to gain bone strength and muscle strength necessary to for full movement. In most cases the treatment will weaken the muscles around the fracture and will not have any effect on the strength of the healed bone.

Humerus fractures can be difficult to handle without the proper tools. Take a look Toby Ortho’s Proximal Humerus Treatment device, PANTERA! Complete with a step by step on how to use it and results to back it up!

distal humerus

A Closer Look At The Distal Humerus Fracture

A complex distal humerus fracture is a difficult problem to fix, especially using conventional methods. This problem becomes even worse in comminuted low distal humerus fractures, where bones break into many pieces.

When you consider the importance of this area of the arm, you begin to understand why a break here can be so disastrous. A fracture in the lower end of the humerus is debilitating as it is one of three bones forming the elbow joint. These injuries are not only painful but reduce or completely impede movement.

Join us today as we take a closer look at the issue of distal humerus fractures and how to treat them with Toby Orthopaedics implants.

Anatomy Of The Distal Humerus

A distal humerus fracture is mostly a problem because the area in question makes up your elbow. And, as we all know, this is an area of your body with a lot of responsibility when it comes to our everyday movements. Elbow joints bend and straighten, similar to a hinge, making them central to forearm rotation. Everything you do with your arm, from turning your hand palm up and down to extending it becomes compromised.

Let’s take a closer look at this part of your arm. Your elbow is comprised of three bones:

  • The upper arm bone (humerus)
  • The thumb-side forearm bone (radius)
  • The pinky-side forearm bone (ulna)

Now, for the faint of heart, this next fact may seem unbearable, but let’s consider the anatomy of a break, as well. Distal humerus fractures, commonly, involve a break into several pieces, known as a “comminuted fracture.”

Distal humerus fractures occur from a break anywhere within the lower end of the humerus. Bones can crack just slightly or into many pieces. These pieces may line up perfectly or slip out of place, in the case of a displaced fracture.

In contrast to this, sometimes, the bone will break in a way that the fragments jut out through the skin. This is called an open fracture. Open fractures are obviously serious because, once you break through the skin, infection is much more likely. In these cases, immediate treatment is required to prevent infection.

Fortunately, distal humerus fractures are not entirely common. They make up roughly 2% of all adult fractures.

Causes and Symptoms

Most commonly, distal humerus fractures result from:

  • A direct fall onto the elbow
  • A direct blow to the elbow
  • A fall onto an outstretched arm, where the elbow is held tightly behind it.
  • Fractures caused by weakened bones. This is most common in older patients living with osteoporosis

Distal humerus fractures can be extremely painful, completely preventing elbow movement. Symptoms of a fracture can range from swelling, tenderness, and bruising to joint instability and, in rare cases, fractured bones breaking the skin.


Proximal humerus plate system products from Toby Orthopaedics represent the next generation of fixed angle modular fixation. These revolutionary devices treat proximal humerus fracture injuries via targeted plate and screw configurations. For better mobility, they help to prevent varus collapse, lowering impingement risk and improving access to soft tissue attachments.

These devices cover a range of injuries, from simple two-part fractures to four-part fractures, which are much more complexAvailable in six lengths, from 73mm to 220mm, as well as left and right configurations, this represents the new standard in fracture treatment.

For more on this implant, as well as the rest of our impressive product line, visit Toby Orthopaedics, and discover the best in orthopaedic implants, today.