Common Upper Limb Sports Injuries

There are a range of upper limb injuries that a prone to occur in Australian Football. 

Trainers need to understand what each injury means, how a player will present for each type of injury and the best way to manage the injury following the event.

SHOULDER COMPLEX:

Because of its inherent bony instability, the shoulder is prone to injury in football.

Dislocation -Anterior (90%):

This is a common injury.

Mechanism: 

  • Forced abduction and external rotation (ie tackle)

Presentation:

  • Player feels shoulder “pop out”
  • Prominent Humeral head, hollow beneath Acromion

Management:   

  • Reduction but only if player can self reduce.  There is the potential for bone or nerve damage)
  • R.I.C.E.
  • Sling 
  • Medical follow up -X Ray


Dislocation - Posterior: 

This injury is rarely seen.

Mechanism:  

  • Direct blow to the anterior of the shoulder.  For example, a player falls onto an outstretched arm.

Presentation: 

  • Arm held in internal rotation
  • Loss normal rounded appearance of shoulder

Management: 

  • Reduction but only if player can self reduce.  There is the potential for bone or nerve damage)
  • R.I.C.E.
  • Sling 
  • Medical follow up -X Ray


Acromio-clavicular joint: 

Most commonly injured by direct blow or fall onto point of shoulder.  There are three grades of sprain.

GRADE 1:         

  • Localised sprain of joint capsule

Presentation:  

  • Localised pain, no disruption

Management: 

  • R.I.C.E.
  • Bandage/ Tape


GRADE 2:          

  • Subluxation
  • Tear of capsule and acromio clavicular ligament.

Presentation:  

  • Obvious step deformity

Management:  

  • R.I.C.E. 
  • Immobilisation (tape) for comfort
  • Pain relief
  • Medical follow up – X Ray.

GRADE 3: 

  • Complete rupture of all stabilising ligaments.

Presentation:  

  • Gross step deformity

Management:

  • R.I.C.E. 
  • Immobilisation (tape) for comfort
  • Pain relief
  • Medical follow up – X Ray.

Ligaments generally take 6-8 weeks to fully heal. However, surgery is rarely required.


Clavicular Fractures:  

Probably most common fracture in AFL.

Presentation:  

  • Obvious palpable deformity.

Management:  

  • Medical follow up
  • X-ray
  • Sling for 2-3 weeks
  • Surgical repair sometimes required, but often managed conservatively

ELBOW INJURIES:

Hyperextension: 

  • Direct result of tackle or fall. May involve anterior or commonly medial structures.

Presentation:     

  • Joint line pain and or swelling

Management:   

  • R.I.C.E.
  • Bandage/ tape
  • Medical follow up
Concussion Management
Advertisement
This is Our Game