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What is a fracture of the proximal radius?

A fracture of the proximal humerus affects the radial head and/or neck which makes up the elbow joint.

What causes a fracture of the proximal radius?

A fracture of the proximal radius usually occurs as the result of a fall onto an outstretched hand or a direct blow to the lateral (outside) elbow. Damage to the other bones of the elbow joint (humerus or ulna) or to the soft tissues surrounding the fracture site (tendon, ligament, nerve, and blood vessel injury) may occur simultaneously.

Proximal radius fractures may be nondisplaced (no misalignment of bones) or displaced (bones not aligned).

At the time of injury, proximal radius fractures may become dislocated (fracture-dislocation), with the radial head migrating toward the elbow joint.

What are the symptoms/effects of a fractured shaft of humerus?

Symptoms of a fractured shaft of humerus may include:
  • Pain especially when moving the shoulder or elbow.
  • Limited movement
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bruising


If you suspect you have fractured your arm you need to seek medical advice as soon as possible. You will usually have an X-ray to see the extent of your injury and to confirm a diagnosis of a fracture.

Physiotherapy for a fractured proximal radius

Physiotherapy treatment at Manchester Physio following a proximal radius fracture will reduce pain and to restore full function to the elbow joint.

A structured rehabilitation program, will be developed following a thorough assessment which will include goals to restore full range of movement, strength and everyday function.

Physiotherapy treatment at Manchester Physio may include:
  • Passive range of movement exercises (flexion/extension, supination/pronation of the elbow). This will also apply to the shoulder, wrist, and hand.
  • Soft tissue massage to relieve tension and pain
  • Ultrasound to promote healing
  • Active range of motion activities for the affected elbow and forearm as well as gripping and isometric exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
Your exercise program at Manchester Physio will be tailored to you in order to progressively increase flexibility, strength, coordination, and endurance with an emphasis on function and independence in activities of daily living.

Your physiotherapist will guide you through your treatment to ensure a full recovery and return to activities you enjoy.

For more information about physiotherapy for a fractured proximal humerus, or to book an appointment please call 0161 883 0077.

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