Fracture of the Humerus – Advice Sheet

  • Reference Number: HEY-480/2016
  • Departments: Orthopaedics

This leaflet has been produced to give you general information. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

The humerus is the long bone in your upper arm. When broken it needs specialised care so that you can cope with the problems it brings. It will take a minimum of 12 weeks to heal.

This is a very painful injury so take your pain relief medication regularly as prescribed by the doctor. The plaster that is applied for this injury is heavy, this is to help the fracture to stay in the correct position and you must adapt yourself and your lifestyle to get used to this.

Your arm will be very swollen and bruised for the first couple of weeks. A fractured humerus can be very mobile and you may feel and hear the bone moving in the plaster, this is not unusual but by letting the arm hang loosely from the shoulder you could prevent this from happening. The best way to manage your fracture is to let your arm hang in the collar and cuff provided. The following is advised:

  • No pillows under your elbow.
  • No resting your arm on a chair or table.
  • No lying flat in bed.
  • No putting your injured arm in the sleeve of your clothes, just let your arm hang.

To help reduce the swelling and stiffness in your wrist and hand you must keep moving by rotating your wrist, clenching your hand into a fist and then stretching your fingers out.  If you find you have numbness or are unable to move your wrist, please contact the hospital immediately. Keep the plaster dry – no baths – no showers. To wash the injured side lean forward and let your arm swing forward from the shoulder. Do not lift your arm up. Use baby wipes or a well wrung out face cloth.

Be aware that your balance may be seriously affected. Take greater care when walking about, especially when coming down stairs. Take your time.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this sheet, please do not hesitate to contact the clinic: telephone: (01482) 674378.

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

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We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

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