Little League elbow is pain in the elbow joint due to repetitive throwing. This injury occurs in young baseball pitchers before puberty.
The Elbow Joint
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During this injury, the ligament attached to the inner side of the elbow begins to pull one of the growth plates away from the rest of the bone. Since the bones are still growing, the growth plates are weak and susceptible to injury. Certain types of throwing may lead to this condition, such as:
Little League elbow is more common in boys and in those aged 10-15 years old. Baseball pitching, especially throwing curve balls or sliders also increases risk.
The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history. Other information needed will include how the injury occurred, when the pain occurs, and about previous injuries.
The doctor will also:
Treatment and recovery depend on the severity of the injury. Recovery time ranges from 6 weeks to 3 months.
To reduce your chance of Little League elbow:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness. American Academy of Pediatrics: Risk of injury from baseball and softball in children. Pediatrics. 2001;107(4):782-784.
Overuse elbow injury related to throwing. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 6, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.
Throwing injuries in the elbow in children. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00328. Updated April 2011. Accessed December 16, 2014.
Why counting pitches counts. The National Athletic Trainers' Association website. Available at: http://www.nata.org/nata-news-blog/why-counting-pitches-counts. Accessed December 16, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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