A fracture of the neck of the humerus occurs in the most difficult area of the body to rehabilitate: the shoulder. The humerus bone is the large bone of the upper arm, and the top portion that attaches at the shoulder is called the neck. Post-injury, exercises help rehabilitate the shoulder, but the type of exercises depends on the severity of the fracture.
When you fracture the neck of your humerus bone, it is important to find out what type of fracture you have. If there is only a small amount of displacement, then your injury doesn't need surgery. Instead, rest your arm for two weeks in a sling, then perform pendular exercises, which are gentle range-of-motion exercises for the shoulder. To perform pendular exercises for your injured arm, rest your other arm on a counter, on the back of a couch or some other flat, horizontal surface off the floor. Incline your torso forward and hang your injured arm toward the floor. The spine should be straight, with knees slightly bent. Then swing your arm forward and backward slowly. This causes the neck of the humerus to move in the shoulder joint. Next, swing your arm from side to side.
Pendular exercises are also beneficial for people with severe fractures who require surgery. These exercises are appropriate approximately six to eight weeks after surgery.
Isometric External Rotation
When a fracture is wider than 1 centimeter, consists of two fragments or there is also a shoulder dislocation, you likely need surgery. Immobilizing a shoulder after surgery causes stiffness and delays healing. Isometric exercises across the repair site of the shoulder soon after surgery might improve stability. Your doctor decides when you are ready for these exercises. Isometric external rotation and abduction are typical exercises. To perform external rotation, stand sideways next to a wall, with your injured arm near the wall. Bend the arm to make a right angle and touch your elbow to your side with your forearm pointing forward. Place the back of your hand against the wall and push against the wall.
Isometric Shoulder Abduction
Isometric shoulder abduction also promotes stability in the joint with a gentle strengthening exercise. To perform isometric shoulder abduction, lift your injured arm slightly away from your side. Place the palm of your other arm against the outside of the upper part of the injured arm. Push against your palm with your injured arm and resist with your good arm. The arm does not move.
Wall climbing, along with pendular exercises, assist in regaining range of motion. Like the pendular exercises, patients are ready for wall climbing somewhere between six to eight weeks after surgery. Wall climbing, also called wall crawls and wall climbs, should not cause pain. To perform wall climbing, stand 18 inches from a wall and place your palm on the injured arm flat on the wall, fingers pointing upward. Then walk your fingers up the wall as far as you can without pain.
- SportsInjuryClinic.net: What is a Fracture of the Neck of the Humerus?
- "Occupational Therapy for Physical Dysfunction; "Mary Vining Radomski and Catherine Trombly Latham"; 2007
- PhysioAdvisor.com: Shoulder Stretches
- Shoulder-Pain-Management: Shoulder Stabilizing and Stretching Exercises
- EastSide Sports Rehabilitation Clinics: Shoulder Handout