little leaguers elbow

When your child’s suffering from shoulder pain, you want to do everything possible to help them. If your daughter or son plays baseball, it’s possible that at some point, they will experience medial apophysitis, popularly known as “Little Leaguer’s Elbow”.

What is Little Leaguer’s Elbow?

Little Leaguer’s Elbow is an inflammation of a child’s growth plates due to repetitive overhead throwing. This happens in baseball and basketball. In addition to inflammation, bones in the elbow may come apart.

Causes of Little Leaguer’s Elbow

Causes include playing sports, overuse, not resting between practice sessions, or improper sport techniques.

Symptoms of Little Leaguer’s Elbow

Symptoms for Little League Elbow are hard to miss. They include the following:

  • Pain in the medial (inner) side of the elbow
  • Pain worsens with physical activity
  • Arm feels heavy
  • Locked elbow
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Tenderness

Risk Factors for Developing Little Leaguer’s Elbow

Risk factors for LLE include being between the ages of 9 through 14 and performing repetitive arm motions, such as pitching baseballs during practice or games. This motion causes excessive pull on the elbow’s tendons and ligaments.

Little Leaguer’s Elbow Diagnosis and Treatment

When a child complains about elbow pain, the doctor will conduct a physical exam of the medial and lateral (outer) parts of the elbow. In order to confirm the diagnosis, the physician will likely order x-rays or an MRI.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Most patients do not need surgery to treat Little Leaguer’s Elbow. Conservative treatment options include taking a break from the activity causing the injury, icing the elbow, and anti-inflammatory medication.

Once the injury has improved, the doctor may recommend physical therapy and will perhaps evaluate the child’s pitching technique to ensure proper form.

Surgical Treatment

When non-surgical options do not bring relief, an orthopedic surgeon may consider operating on the affected arm for older children (pre-teen or adolescent). The surgery is done to remove loose bone fragments or to reattach a ligament.

Complications of Little Leaguer’s Elbow

Left untreated, Little Leaguer’s Elbow could result in abnormal bone growth and deformity of the elbow.

Little Leaguer’s Elbow Prevention

Do not allow the child to practice their sport every single day. Rest days are just as important as practicing. If your child has suffered from LLE, review her or his practice and game schedule with the doctor prior to resuming activity. Do not practice sports that require overhead throwing year round. Take a break when the season is over.

Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today

At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want or patients to live their life in full motion. If your child is experiencing Little Leaguer’s Elbow, let us help. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your child’s lifestyle and get them back to doing the things they love. 

Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.

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