Little League Elbow
(Elbow, Little League; Medial Apophysitis; Overuse Elbow Injury Related to Throwing)
|The Elbow Joint|
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- Throwing too hard and too often
- Increasing the number of pitches per week too quickly
- Throwing too many curves or sliders at a young age
- Changing to a league where the pitcher's mound is farther away from home plate or the mound is elevated
- Age: 10-15 years old
- Sex: male (more boys than girls are baseball pitchers)
- Baseball pitching, especially throwing curve balls or sliders
- Pain around the bony knob on the inner side of the elbow
- Swelling (possibly)
- Pain when throwing overhand
- Pain with gripping or carrying heavy objects (sometimes)
- How the injury occurred
- When the pain began
- Any prior elbow injuries
- Rest—Do not pitch or do activities that cause elbow pain. Do not play sports until the pain is gone.
- Cold—Apply ice or a cold pack to the outside of the elbow. Do this for 15-20 minutes, four times a day, for several days. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel. Do not apply ice directly to your skin.
- Medication—Ask your doctor about pain medications because they can mask symptoms. If you or your child has elbow pain, be sure to call the doctor.
- Physical therapy—After the pain is gone, ask your doctor about strength exercises .
- Gradual return to pitching—Begin throwing motions. Gradually progress to pitching as recommended by your doctor. Your coach should also know about your treatment.
- Surgery—This may be needed to reattach the ligament and bony fragment. This is rarely needed.
- Warm up before pitching with light aerobic exercise (such as, jogging).
- Stretch your muscles slowly and gently before pitching.
- Follow the pitching rules of your baseball league. Do not play in two leagues at the same time.
- Keep track of your child’s pitch count and the number of innings pitched. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting pitches to 200 per week or 90 per game.
- Learn and practice good pitching techniques.
- Do not throw curve balls and sliders until high school. This is when the growth plate in your elbow is fused with the bone.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.aaos.org
American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
About Kids Health http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Aydt S. Little league baseball and the pitch count. The National Athletic Trainers' Association website. Available at: http://www.nata.org/. Accessed July 22, 2008.
Don’t let injuries keep your child in the dugout. Orthopaedic surgeons provide tips to prevent youth baseball and softball injuries. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www6.aaos.org/news/PEMR/press%5Frelease.cfm?PRNumber=468. Published April 2006. Accessed July 22, 2008.
Overuse elbow injury related to throwing. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated August 24, 2011. Accessed October 3, 2011.
Professional Team Physicians, Inc. website. Available at: http://www.straws.com/ptp.htm. Accessed July 22, 2008.
Risk of injury from baseball and softball in children 5 to 14 years of age. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/93/4/690.abstract. Published April 1994. Accessed July 22, 2008.
- Reviewer: Teresa Briedwell PT, DPT, PCS
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 01/13/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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