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What Are the Most Common Causes of Humerus Pain?

By Valerie Goldberg
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The humerus is the upper arm bone in humans. It plays a vital role in the movement of the shoulder and the elbow. There are many reasons why a person may experience humerus pain, including a humerus fracture, an elbow injury and a dislocated shoulder. The cause of the pain in the humerus bone will determine how it is treated.

Humerus fractures can occur as a result of falls, osteoporosis and other injuries. Signs of a fracture in the area include humerus pain, swelling and bruising. A person suffering from a humerus fracture will have to have his or her arms set in a special cast to prevent injury to the nerves.

The humerus connects to the elbow, so injuries to the elbow can cause radiating humerus pain. Tendinitis in the elbow is common in people who play sports, especially tennis. Once a person is diagnosed with tendinitis, a doctor will require that he or she to take it easy and to avoid playing the sport or participating in the activity that caused the problem. A doctor also may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or require the person to wear a brace. Both of these practices can help to reduce elbow pain and humerus pain.

A dislocated shoulder, in which the upper part of the humerus pops out of the shoulder blade, also can be responsible for humerus pain. Falls, car accidents and sports injuries all have the potential to cause a dislocated shoulder. Signs and symptoms of this injury include significant pain in the neck or humerus, bruising and the shoulder being out of place.

Doctors will treat a dislocated shoulder by moving the bones back into their rightful positions. In some cases, a doctor can do this manually while a patient is awake. A muscle relaxer may be given to the patient before the procedure. Severe shoulder dislocations may require surgery under anesthesia. Patients typically wear a sling or splint for a few weeks, but the level of pain felt in the humerus and the neck will improve much sooner.

People can avoid injuries and pain in the humerus by always stretching before playing sports or exercising. It also is important for people to know when to call it quits and not over do it when working out. Drinking milk or taking calcium supplements can create stronger bones, which can prevent a humerus injury in the event of an accident.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By KoiwiGal — On Aug 04, 2011

@umbra21 - I hope she was all right in the end!

It is actually surprising how little it can hurt if you fracture a bone.

I mean, it obviously does hurt a lot, but compared to outright breaking or dislocating something, it's not so bad, so people often don't realize that's what is wrong.

I hope your parents didn't feel too guilty for not taking her to the hospital right away! It could just as easily have been shoulder pain from a strain or bruise.

By umbra21 — On Aug 04, 2011

My sister fractured her humerus when we were children. She fell on it, I think although it was a long time ago, so I don't actually remember.

It was pretty terrible, actually, because she was the kind of kid who would make a big deal out of most things, and mom and dad just thought she was doing that again.

So, even though she had pain in her arm, they didn't take her to the emergency room, because they thought it was a strain or something else that couldn't really be fixed.

It was only after it began to swell up that they realized something was really wrong!

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