Fracture through the distal femoral epiphysis

J Athl Train. 1995 Jun;30(2):154-7.


Injuries to the distal femoral epiphysis are not common, but when they do occur, at least half of them occur in sports. Many athletic trainers work with skeletally immature athletes, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will face this type of injury. The case of a 14-year-old football player who sustained a Salter-Harris III fracture of his medial femoral condyle is presented to illustrate the classic natural history and prognosis of this injury. To properly evaluate this injury, the athletic trainer must understand the anatomy of the immature skeleton and be able to recognize signs that epiphyseal injury has occurred. These injuries frequently result in long-term complications such as leg-length discrepancy, although this and other complications can be minimized or eliminated through proper immediate treatment. Athletic trainers must be aware of these injuries and include them in their differential evaluation, since immediate treatment can mean the difference between permanent leg-length discrepancy or deformity and an uncomplicated recovery with the athlete returning to full athletic activity.