What to Know About Little League Elbow

What to Know About Little League Elbow

It’s time for little league season in Houston. Players are excited to get in the game but staying safe is the chief concern. A condition called Little League Elbow develops in children and causes extreme pain that keeps them out of the game. NASA Bone & Joint Specialists understands the importance of protecting your child’s joints, allowing them to enjoy their sport.

What is Little League Elbow?

This condition is caused by overuse and repetitive movement.  Longer seasons, single-sport focus and high levels of training intensity all contribute to increased prevalence of Little League Elbow injury.

Young players with open growth plates are at the greatest risk for developing this condition because of under-developed elbow joints. The players responsible for throwing curveballs and breaking pitches are more likely to develop Little League elbow as well.  Athletes develop the condition due to pitching too often without rest and using improper mechanics. Young patients typically report pain or stiffness on the inner side of elbow. Swelling and pain from continuous use leads to reduced range-of-motion, throwing velocity, or accuracy.

Little League Elbow Treatment

Visiting a specialist quickly is essential. Little League Elbow becomes worse if ignored, possibly leading to permanent symptoms.  Your orthopedist will perform a complete exam to include a comprehensive review of symptoms, x-rays, and the clinical exam.

In severe cases, surgery may be required but most children respond best to non-surgical treatments:

  • Ice and NSAIDS can be used for immediate symptoms, while rest from throwing motions is essential.
  • Physical therapy can help reduce pain and strengthen the muscles supporting the shoulder and elbow to prevent re-occurrence of the injury.
  • When cleared to resume throwing, evaluation by a sports medicine expert can help ensure proper mechanics. A staged throwing program that closely monitors the type and number of pitches can help get your Little Leaguer back in the lineup safely.

 

Little league elbow becomes more common as baseball season begins. Don’t let pain hold your child back. Call NASA Bone & Joint Specialists at (281) 333-5114 or visit us at https://www.nasabone.com/contacts/ to speak with an orthopedic specialist.