Little League Elbow
This injury happens when the ligament attached to the inner side of the elbow starts to pull one of the growth plates away from the rest of the bone. Growth plates are weak and easily injured when a child's bones are still growing. Certain types of throwing may lead to this problem, such as:
- 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 raised
The goal of treatment is to ease pain and promote healing. Recovery time ranges from 6 weeks to 3 months.
- Supportive care, such as resting the elbow and using cold compresses to ease swelling
- Medicines to ease pain and swelling
- Physical therapy to promote strength, flexibility, and range of motion
Some children may need surgery. This is not common.
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.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Elbow, Little League; Medial Apophysitis; Overuse Elbow Injury Related to Throwing)
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
Ortho Info— American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Griffith TB, Kercher J, et al. Elbow Injuries in the Adolescent Thrower. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2018 Mar;11(1):35-47.
Management of throwing injuries of the elbow. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/management-of-throwing-injuries-of-the-elbow. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Throwing injuries in the elbow in children. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/throwing-injuries-in-the-elbow-in-children. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Why counting pitches counts. The National Athletic Trainers' Association website. Available at: http://www.nata.org/nata-news-blog/why-counting-pitches-counts. Accessed January 29, 2021.