Workers who suffer a broken bone often require extended time off work for recovery.
Humerus fractures are a common workplace injury. The humerus is the long bone in the upper arm. A fall or a motor vehicle accident can cause the bone to break. Depending on the severity and location of the fracture, some bones may heal on their own while others may require surgery. Workers who suffer a humerus fracture require extended time off work for recovery. If the injury is serious enough, the worker may never again be able to do physically strenuous work, such as lifting heavy loads.
Common Causes of Humerus Fractures
The most common cause of humerus fractures is trauma to the arm. Most fractures result from a direct impact to the arm, such as during a motor vehicle crash or a slip and fall accident at the workplace. Older workers are more susceptible to humerus fractures and may suffer injury even from a relatively minor fall.
Humerus fractures can be of different types depending on the part of the bone that is broken. Proximal humerus fractures are located close to the shoulder, while mid-shaft fractures occur in the middle of the bone. Distal humerus fractures are located near the elbow joint.
Symptoms of Humerus Fractures
A worker may experience severe pain and swelling and may find it difficult to move the upper arm. If the injury involves the nerves, the worker may experience weakness and unusual sensations in the hand and wrist.
Diagnosing a Humerus Fracture
Humerus fractures can be diagnosed by examining the arm and taking X-rays. However, in some cases, a CT scan may be required to get a more detailed view.
Treating a Humerus Fracture
If the broken bones are still in their actual position, a sling can support the arm while it heals. Mid-shaft fractures often heal with immobilization and do not require surgery. Physical therapy may be required in order to improve circulation and reduce stiffness. Exercises help increase range of motion and strength. However, if the broken bones have moved out of position, the worker may require surgery to realign the bones and hold them in position using surgical hardware such as pins, wires, screws, and plates.
Normally, surgery is used for distal and proximal humerus fractures. For more severe proximal humerus fractures, a shoulder replacement surgery may be required, followed by rehabilitation.
Recovery from Surgery
Most humerus fractures heal within four to six weeks. However, severe fractures, particularly the ones that require surgery may take longer to heal. Even after recovery, the patient may be put on work restrictions.
St. Louis Work Comp Benefits
All work-related injuries, including humerus fractures, are generally covered by workers’ compensation. However, in some cases, the employer or insurance company may refuse to pay for surgery. If you face any such problems, seek legal help from a St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.