Scapula Fracture

A scapula fracture is a break of the shoulder blade, the large, flat, triangular bone that contains the shoulder socket. Scapula fractures are uncommon because the area is protected by a system of muscles. However, a high-impact trauma like a car accident can cause the scapula to fracture.


The majority of scapula fractures are the result of severe trauma, such as a fall or car accident. When a scapula fracture occurs, it is not uncommon for other nearby bones such as ribs or the shoulder to fracture as well. The head, lungs, and spinal cord may also experience damage.


When a scapula fracture occurs, bruising, swelling, and pain are all common. Pain is usually severe when moving the arm. A bump may form if the broken bone moves out of place.


In addition to assessing symptoms and medical history, physicians will perform a physical exam to diagnose a scapula fracture. Factors such as the position of the shoulder, abrasions, and additional injuries will be evaluated. Imaging tests such as x-rays may be used to determine the extent of the injury.


Scapula fractures are usually treated non-surgically with a sling and anti-inflammatory medications. However, surgery may be required in severe cases where the bone shifts or does not heal properly.

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