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Little League Elbow: Prevention and Treatment

By / June 28, 2014 / / 0 Comments

Little League ElbowIn today’s competitive sports, more children play a single sport year-round without a break from sport specific motions. This has resulted in young athletes experiencing overuse injuries at an early age. A perfect example of this is “Little League Elbow”, an overuse injury of young pitchers in competitive baseball. The stress applied to the inner or medial aspect of the elbow may cause an injury to the cartilage growth plate and even alter the growth pattern of the medial epicondyle.

Tenderness in the inner elbow, sometimes associated with inflammation, are telltale signs of Little League Elbow. Treatment begins with rest. It is important to let it heal completely before resuming the activity. Other types of treatment may include ice, anti-inflammatory meds and physical therapy.

Ignoring the symptoms may lead to an increased risk for a fracture of the medial growth plate, which may require surgical intervention. Prevention is the best medicine.

It is important for coaches and parents to be familiar with the guidelines for reducing injury. If the child is under 16, he should not throw more than 60 pitches in a day. If the child nears 60 pitches, he should have at least 3-4 days rest between appearances. Keep vigilant as to the condition of the elbow, resorting to rest and icing at the slightest sign of tenderness. With these simple guidelines, you children can enjoy competitive baseball while allowing their skeletal systems to mature correctly.