Most humeral shaft fractures are amenable to nonoperative treatment. According to shoulder and elbow functions, humeral shaft malunions are well tolerated with deformities up to 30 degrees of varus, 20 degrees of anterior bowing and 15 degrees of internal rotation. Limitations to nonoperative treatment do exist. Open fractures with extensive soft-tissue lesions, penetrating open fractures with neurological or vascular impairment are best managed with immediate stabilization. However the appropriate treatment strategy has to be adapted for each patient. Patient expectations, fracture propensity for nonunion, ability to tolerate nonoperative treatment for medical or social reasons should be taken into consideration for operative indication.