Functional treatment of humeral shaft fractures: indications and results

J Orthop Trauma. 1997 May;11(4):283-7. doi: 10.1097/00005131-199705000-00011.


Objective: To determine effectiveness of closed functional bracing for humeral shaft fractures.

Design: Retrospective.

Setting: University.

Patients: Eighty-seven patients with humeral shaft fractures.

Intervention: All patients were treated with closed functional bracing.

Main outcomes measured: Both subjective and objective criteria were measured. Objective criteria consisted of range of motion and radiographic measurements. Subjective data were recorded using the Hannover Shoulder Score.

Results: Eighty-six percent of the follow-up group showed no restrictions in the movement of their shoulder and elbow joints. On the basis of subjective criteria, 95% of the patients were content with the functional treatment, 65% claimed to be pain free in their daily activities and at work, and 35% felt pain only when doing vigorous activities or heavy physical work. Although malposition with an angulation greater than 10 degrees was observed in ten patients (12.6%), functional outcome was good or excellent in two thirds of the cases followed up.

Conclusions: When the correct indications are present, functional treatment of humeral shaft fractures has proven to be an excellent method that is both reliable and cost effective.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Braces*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Humeral Fractures / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome