Proximal Humeral Epiphyseal Plate Fracture in a Collegiate Track and Field Decathlete: A Case Study

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Objective:

To present the case of an 18-year-old collegiate decathlete with a Salter-Harris type I epiphyseal plate fracture of the proximal humerus.

Background:

A collegiate decathlete was playing flag football and fell on an outstretched arm. He was taken to the emergency room and diagnosed with a type I epiphyseal plate fracture.

Differential Diagnosis:

AC sprain, dislocation or subluxation, rotator cuff tear, labral tear.

Treatment:

Active and passive range of motion exercises were completed after two days of immobilization. He then started strengthening exercises and returned to competitive activity in 10 weeks.

Uniqueness:

Proximal humeral epiphyseal plate fractures are uncommon injuries, especially in athletes over the age of 15.

Conclusions:

If an accurate diagnosis is made, an appropriate conservative rehabilitation program can be implemented to safely return an athlete to participation without permanent deformity following a type I Salter-Harris fracture.

Thomas Bowman is with the Department of Health Sciences and Human Performance at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, VA. E-mail: bowman.t@lynchburg.edu. Riann Palmieri-Smith is with the University of Michigan, Division of Kinesiology in Ann Arbor.