Humerus Fracture Mid-shaft - 6 weeks in

Posted , 25 users are following.

Hello everyone. Glad to find this forum and to read about everyone’s experiences. I have found it hard to find information or pages for people going through a humerus break so I thought I would post my experiences so far.

I am a 28 year old female in Scotland. I have a mid shaft humerus fracture of my left (non-dominant) arm, which happened on 16th January 2018, so six weeks ago today. I have never broken a bone before, and I had no idea at the time what I had let myself in for. I was very much of the understanding that broken bones take around 6 weeks to heal, give or take. So apparently I chose the wrong bone to break!  I will include a brief overview of my journey so far. Please feel free to leave any comments, questions or insights smile 

Day of injury: I fell from a horse while jumping, at speed, directly onto my left arm and knew instantly it was broken. I stayed calm and told my instructor and fellow riders in an almost jovial manner that I needed help as I had broken something. At this point I had no idea how bad it was. I asked them to call my husband also and explain I may be home a little late. Luckily my husband insisted on coming along to the hospital, as I had told him not to worry and that I would just see him when I got home... Ambulance was called, I was given gas & air and morphine for the pain (I didn’t feel any pain at this point but the paramedic assured me that adrenaline and shock were involved in that and that I’d be glad to have the drugs in my system shortly). I was taken to A&E, and examined. X-ray confirmed a broken left humerus midshaft, but no nerve damage suspected. The fracture was severe on the X-ray so I was informed that an operation was likely to be required. My arm was then manipulated into the correct position and put in a splint, from shoulder to elbow. I did require the morphine and gas&air at this point! A further X-ray was completed which now showed my humerus in an acceptable position and I was therefore told no surgery required for the time being. I was sent home with strong painkillers and told to return a week later. 

Week 1 check up: X-ray showed that my humerus was now in a less favourable position than the week previous. They decided to try a brace for a week and see how it was looking. The brace was applied and the X-ray repeated, showing an acceptable position again. Sent home for a week. Having now done my own research, I believe the movement in my humerus over week one was due to having not been advised to stay upright at all times and to not rest my elbow. I had been sleeping on my side (on non-injured arm) and had often been resting my elbow on surfaces to give my neck a break from the weight of my arm.  Once I exited the hospital I felt very down for the first time, realising how long the road ahead may be. I cried for the first time today. It really hit home. 

Week 2 check up: Still happy with position of humerus. Told to begin some basic movement to try and stop elbow from seizing up too much. Asked to return the following week.

Week 3 check up: Position of humerus still acceptable. Different doctor this time. Doctor unsure whether callus was starting to show or whether just the angle of my injury on x-ray but seemed positive that all was going to plan. Asked to to return two weeks later to ensure position of humerus still acceptable. Told to start doing some shoulder movement also to prevent stiffness here.

Week 5 check up: Another new doctor. Doctor looked at my arm for first time today. Until this point no one had actually looked at it since the brace was fitted. He said from images on X-ray it was hard to tell if any healing had begun as until calcium present the X-ray won’t show it. But he felt the bone and also asked me to try and move my arm away from my body, and he seemed to think that the arm is beginning to now move as one unit, which he tells me is a good indication that healing has started. I have now been asked to return for my next check at the 8 week mark, when he hopes to have more concrete evidence of healing. He said by now the bone should be more stable in position and that the brace is more for comfort and support at this stage, therefore does not need to be too tight now. 

I am keeping everything crossed that the next X-ray will show some progress. Mentally I feel like I am coping well considering, but I miss riding and running, and driving. I would also like to get back to work but the doctor has signed me off until my next appointment. I have had some dark days where I have felt like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve had days where I have felt very isolated having no freedom to drive anywhere, and as I live in a rural area my friends are not nearby to jus pop in. I am not a talker when I am struggling so my friends had not realised how difficult things were for me. However one day I was particularly upset when one of my friends called, and she then realised how difficult a time I am having. She has been very supportive since and has taken me out a few times to cheer me up/distract me.

Sleeping has been challenging. After I read that I should be keeping upright, I started sleeping propped up with pillows. The doctor has said to me that this is not necessary however I feel that it is worth a shot if it can help. I have however now I am passed the five week point began sleeping a lot less upright, almost flat on my back. I am hopeful that the bone has enough ‘sticky stuff’ to keep it in place now. This has helped me sleep as my main issue is neck pain, with the weight of my arm hanging on it constantly, so being able to lie with the weight off my neck really has helped a bit. I have been very fortunate that I have not to date experienced much pain in my actual arm. Discomfort at times, but not pain as such. I am unsure whether this is normal? 

The only other thing I’d like to mention is that I cannot yet fully straighten my arm at my elbow however from reading others journeys I believe this is fairly normal and is something I will need to work hard on to fix. 

Sorry for the long post - I’ve struggled to find information around this other than on this forum and a couple of other pages, so I am hoping that my experience so far may be of interest to anyone else going through this now or in the future, and of course I would be interested to hear anyone else stories or inputs! 

Sam xx

1 like, 42 replies

Report / Delete

42 Replies

  • Posted

    Well I am now 31 weeks post fracture. After being told it was healing, and started 6 weeks of physio form week 14, at week 20, different surgeon did not like something he saw on x-ray, Thank God! had arm re x-rayed out of brace and arm still badly broken! then had to have CT scan, showed non union. Had to wait to see upper limb specialist and now waiting for surgery.. How i hate this fracture! Told me I had to have it done on elective list. I kicked up a fuss and was put on urgent list. Then told August before Surgery. They then spoke to surgeon who moved me up his list. so as of Tuesday I am now number 3 and told it should not be long. Big complaint going in about the poor treatment I received. Going to be calling every couple of weeks till I get my date. Hate having no independence, don't know when i will drive again! Also he added my lower arm will never straighten! Not surprising when it was held again my body in sling for 11 weeks!

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      hello can you advise if you have recovered ?I am wondering what to expect . still cant find comfortable sleeping position . not working yet . 55 year old female. also since break my hair id falling out

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    hello! i'm 4 weeks in on a humerus broken in 3 places and the pain is intense. please could you also send me the facebook link as im really struggling to find information and know what is a normal feeling and what should be a worry.

    thanks x

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    heyy your story is very helpful,im 23 from australia i was snowboading fell on my left arm halfway up the mountain, i new straight away i had broken my arm, didnt feel any pain at that stage just a weird sensation all the way down my arm, my partner thankfully got help and a medic was able to get me down off the mountain i had to lay in a long sled and somehow got loaded into the back of a landcruiser and taken to the medical place on the mountain, once i was there they x rayd me and said id fractured my left humerus mid shaft completly snapped in half, i wasnt given morphine i was only given endone and the green whistle, i still had to travel 5hrs to the hospital so next day after a sleepless painful night still at the snow i managed to sit in the car all the way home and then to the hospital where a nurse could only fit me with a Uslab cast and no orthopedic could see me as there werent any available unless i drive another 2hrs to the next hospital, i was distraught at this stage, the pain and swelling was horrible i had an appointment made with the orthopedic a week later at the point id had this cast on for 2 weeks and then they put me in a brace i didnt require surgery thankgod! with regular x rays and check ups i feel comfortable and confident it will heal even stronger im at the 8 week mark now and can take my brace off to shower and dont need to wear a sling unless im leaving the house, when i take my brace off i can feel the callus ball and iv been lucky as i had bone growth at the 4 week mark, still in unchartted waters and just hoping to have a full recovery without surgery!:)

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted


      i injured my ankle but the fracture wasn't visible on x-ray, they only put a bandage on my leg. i remember the disconfort and pains. i tried to make it more stable, had to put the shoe back on and immobilize the leg with the sam splint.

      then i slipped from crutches and fell downstairs and dislocated the already broken ankle, the pains were astonishing. the doctor had a good idea and made an emergency cast without even removing the shoe. the plaster splint was unconfortable, but finally when the full leg cast was set pains disappeared.

      it still amazes me how they treat the humerus fracture

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    hello can you tell me your total recovery time ?

    i fell down a flight of stairs backwards and knew immediately my arm was broke. I am 55. Fell August 29, 2019.

    ER visit and xray revealed a complete mid shaft humerus fracture. i was put in a hard plastic brace. I returned to Doctor 8/30/19 Brace made 3 open pressure sores. Arm was black from shoulder to below elbow. Dr said it was worse break he had ever seen .Dr put a larger brace on .

    arm began to have burning sensation. returned yo dr 9/3. 2nd brace had made the pressure sores worse and they were weeping. xray showed arm was aligned no healing yet. i was out in a fiberglass sleeve . open on sides for pressure sores to get air . went under elbow up to my underarm .

    returned for 6 week checkup xrays revealed arm was aligned but still not completely healed.

    next 6 week xrays revealed still not completely healed but was advised my elbow could freeze up if they didn't take the fiberglass off.

    I have been in a sling since . i go back 11/21 for another checkup.

    riding in car still very unconfortable. i havdnt returned to work . I key data into a computed all day . dr wont give me an idea how long healing takes

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Sarah. These fractures can take a long time to fully heal so please stay positive.

      My recovery was not straight forward but for the vast majority of people the bone does heal well naturally if given time and treated correctly. Often healing won't even begin showing on X-Rays for midshaft fractures until 10-16 weeks, but that doesn't mean there isn't healing going on, the X-Ray just can't pick it up immediately.

      We have a Facebook group, where you can read lots of different experiences and ask any questions or post your story so far. We are not doctors so cannot give medical advice but its a great place to talk it all through.

      Just search Humerus Fracture Support on Facebook and it should come up.

      All the best!

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    hi tgere so i first broke my arm june 1st and had nothing changed for 11 weeks never got referred to a surgeon till 11 weeks then had surgery aug 9th had a plate and 6 screws put in at my 6 week check up with surgeon had xrays and the bone was still as broken ad the first day i broke it so im happy i finally got surgery loving how i can finally move my arm!! we will keep in touch hope everything goes well for you

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    hi sam.

    thank you for your post my son has a mid shaft humerus fracture and at week 5 he is struggling to straighten his arm and I was getting worried but after reading your post it has put my mind at rest that this is normal.

    thanks again.


    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      You are welcome and yes it can take time. Hope he recovers well 😃

      There is a facebook group if you would like to chat to others who are going through this - just search Humerus Fracture Support

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up