What is Little League Elbow?
Little League Elbow is an orthopedic condition caused by the repetitive throwing motion of the arms. This condition is usually common among children who participate in sports that require overhead throw.
Pre-adolescent and adolescent baseball pitchers are most commonly affected by the condition.
Little League Elbow also called Little Leaguer’s Elbow or Little League Elbow Syndrome or Medial Apophysitis. It is an overuse injury to the growth plate on the inside of the elbow.
What are the Symptoms of Little League Elbow?
Common symptoms of Little League Elbow are:
- Pain in the elbow.
- Difficulty in straightening the arm.
- Swelling in and around the elbow.
- A frozen or stiff elbow.
- Tender bumps on the inside of the elbow.
If Little League Elbow is not treated immediately, it can cause the tendon to completely separate from the bone. This could cause nerve or muscle damage, which can have permanent repercussions.
What are the Treatment Options for Little League Elbow?
Little League Elbow can be treated with rest and physical therapy. However, in case of critical injury to the tendon, surgery may be required.
Treatment of Little League Elbow without Surgery
- Rest the elbow by limiting the use and taking a break from throwing.
- Ice the elbow for 15-20 minutes, multiple times in a day.
- Compress the elbow by wrapping a bandage around the elbow.
- Elevate the elbow by placing a cushion underneath.
- Age-appropriate pain and anti-inflammation medication can also be prescribed by the doctor.
- The doctor will recommend physical therapy to restore health.
Treatment of Little League Elbow with Surgery
If Little League Elbow and its symptoms do not show signs of improvement from non-surgical treatments, then surgery is recommended. Open or arthroscopic surgery procedures can be used to treat the condition.
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How Long Does Little League Elbow Take to Heal?
- In the case of non-surgical treatment, a rest of 6-8 weeks is required for complete recovery.
- In case of surgical intervention, a child or teen can return to the game after 4-6 months of surgery.
- Rehabilitation is critical before rejoining the sport.
How Do You Heal Little League Elbow?
You can heal your Little League Elbow in the following ways:
- By giving rest at proper intervals to the injured area.
- The application of cold treatment, such as applying ice around the affected area, can reduce the effect of swelling.
- In the case of severe pain and swelling, your specialist may recommend you to use anti-inflammatory drugs.
- In the case of severe injury, surgery may be recommended.
How Does Little League Elbow Occur?
- The Little League elbow may occur as a result of an injury due to repetitive motion of the elbow.
- The overuse or overstressing the medial elbow can also become a significant reason for this injury.
How Do You Know If You Have Little League Elbow?
The symptoms of a Little League elbow are mentioned below:
- You may feel severe pain around the affected area.
- You may feel inflammation or stiffness around the affected area.
- You are unable to throw or move your elbow appropriately.