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Home Rehabilitation Exercises for a Broken Upper Humerus

author image Denise Stern
Denise Stern is an experienced freelance writer and editor. She has written professionally for more than seven years. Stern regularly provides content for health-related and elder-care websites and has an associate and specialized business degree in health information management and technology.
Home Rehabilitation Exercises for a Broken Upper Humerus
Home rehab exercise helps restore range of motion and strength after a humerus fracture. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images


If you've broken your upper humerus, or upper arm bone, you'll need to exercise at a pace suggested by your doctor or physical therapist for optimal healing, restoration of range of motion and mobility. Following instructions from your medical care provider, you may perform a number of basic exercises at home to facilitate healing. A proximal humerus fracture exercise or therapy schedule should be followed carefully by patients to help reduce reinjury and gradually rebuild strength.

Early Rehab

For the first few weeks following humerus fixation or stabilization, you'll need to keep the arm in a sling, though you're advised to start exercising the fingers, hand and wrist, according to Len Funk at ShoulderDoc.co.uk., and then move on slowly to elbow and then shoulder girdle exercises. For example, bracing the arm on a table or chair armrest or braced in your shoulder sling, start by moving the hand up and down. Turn your hand palm upward and then downward. Discuss the number of repetitions you're supposed to do with your physical therapist.

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Range of Motion Exercise

Stand or sit with your back straight. Keeping your arm in the sling, gently and slowly lift the shoulders in an upward and downward movement, like you're shrugging. Repeat this exercise as instructed by your health care provider. You may also shrug the shoulders forward and backward, providing a good stretch and exercise that will help increase range of motion in the shoulder joint. Never go beyond your comfort level, and resist forcing a stretch or a movement.

Shoulder Joint Strengthening Exercise

Pendulum exercises may be advised after at least two to three weeks' healing time, depending on the severity and treatment of your humerus fracture. With the arm in a sling, bend slightly forward at the waist and allow your arm to lean toward the floor by gravity. Very gently rotate your shoulder in small circles, widening those circles as you feel stronger. If you feel pain, reduce the movement. As per your physical therapist's instructions, you can take your arm out of the sling and repeat this exercise, making larger circles. Always move slowly and with control to prevent shoulder or humerus displacement.

Internal Rotation Exercise

After three weeks, or according to your physical therapy schedule, you can perform an internal rotation exercise. Place the hand of the affected arm on your hip. This may be a stiff move at first. Move slowly. As you grow stronger, try to place the back of your hand against your spine. Don't do this until instructed by your therapist.

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