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What is the physical therapy treatment for a broken humerus?

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Quick Answer

Physical therapy treatment for a broken humerus includes exercises to help improve range of motion and strength, according to Move Forward PT. The primary goal is to restore proper function of the shoulder and arm, and physical therapy treatment is programmed specifically for the patient's condition, symptoms, limitations and desired activities.

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Full Answer

Range of motion exercises are used to address stiffness in the shoulder joint following a proximal humerus fracture, states Move Forward PT. Due to the proximity and location of the humerus to the rotator cuff and shoulder joint, shoulder movement is typically limited or restricted as the result of a humerus fracture. A physical therapist compares the range of motion to the noninjured arm to determine a baseline level of normal range to strive for. Manual therapy, wherein the physical therapist uses hands-on therapy to move the joints and muscles, can also help improve range of motion and flexibility.

Strengthening exercises help the patient to restore balance in the upper body muscles and protect the shoulder joint from further injury, explains Move Forward PT. Fractures near the shoulder joint can cause muscle atrophy, or weakening, due to a decrease of normal use. Additionally, abnormal or improper movement patterns often develop as a response to the injury. A physical therapist addresses and corrects faulty movement patterns to reduce pain and risk of future injury.

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