BACKGROUND: Fractures of the proximal humerus in skeletally immature patients are rare, and even rarer still in individuals approaching skeletal maturity. Concepts regarding remodeling potential, amount of deformity and functional demands can guide our treatment decision making, but criteria are poorly defined. The purpose of this manuscript is to discuss the issues and the best available evidence. METHODS: A search of the English literature was carried out using PubMed to identify papers on the topic of proximal humerus fractures in skeletally immature individuals. RESULTS: The literature available on the topic of pediatric proximal humerus fractures is limited, especially regarding fractures in patients approaching skeletal maturity. Certainly, as the remodeling potential decreases and the amount of deformity and functional demand increase, the need for operative treatment increases. The exact tolerances and criteria have not been established. A variety of surgical techniques exist, and have been shown to be helpful. CONCLUSIONS: Operative treatment may be necessary in individuals approaching skeletal maturity. Concepts discussed in this paper regarding remodeling, amount of deformity and functional demand may help the surgeon to make appropriate treatment decisions. Future prospective comparative studies which are pending will hopefully shed further light on this matter.