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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Diagonised with a hair line fracture in elbow. What could be the reason for getting pain in shoulder?

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Dr. Stephen Christensen

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1986

Answered : 212 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 17 Dec 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: This is the diagnosis just relayed to me from the radiologist "right elbow demonstrates a hairline fx. through the proximal diaphysis of the humeral head XXXXXXX I've been an or nurse for 35 years and am very confused as to this location. I fell while running and landed on my right shoulder and elbow. Is this an elbow or shoulder; both are painful???
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Answered by Dr. Stephen Christensen 2 hours later
Hello. I'm Dr. Christensen.

I'm sorry you've injured your arm.

You're right: this is a nonsensical report. It sounds like the radiologist misspoke while reading your x-ray.

As you know, the diaphysis is the shaft of a bone: it's the region between the epiphysis, which are at either end of a long bone. A "proximal diaphysis" is the end of the shaft that's closest to the body -- or some other reference point, which must be designated for clarity.

Your x-ray could have been misread in several ways:
1. "Right elbow demonstrates a hairline fx through the proximal diaphysis of the RADIAL head" or
2. "Right elbow demonstrates a hairline fx through the DISTAL diaphysis of the HUMERUS" or
2. "Right SHOULDER demonstrates a hairline fx through the proximal diaphysis of the humeral head XXXXXXX

Your films need to be pulled and read again so you and your physician can proceed with treatment.

I hope that answers your question. I'll be available if you have additional concerns.

Get better soon!
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