Little League Elbow

Little League Elbow is a serious injury that could end a young athlete’s dreams before they even get started (source). Learn how to prevent, assess and treat Little League Elbow below so your kid doesn’t end up missing a substantial amount of time. This condition is related to a UCL sprain that warrants Tommy John surgery. Read about that here.

  • What is Little League Elbow?
  • How do you prevent it?
  • How do you treat it?

What Is Little League Elbow?

This is a catch all phrase for any medial elbow pain in young children, primarily in baseball pitchers. This a condition that develops as a result of overuse. Traditionally this injury is an inflammatory condition of the growth plate (apophysitis) on the medial elbow.

Symptoms

  • Medial elbow pain
  • Swelling
  • Unable to extend elbow
  • Visible bump on the medial elbow
  • General elbow stiffness
  • Most common in boys aged 9-14 (growth plate closes at 14)

How Do You Prevent Little League Elbow?

There is no outright way to prevent this injury. However, there is a lot that you can do to decrease the risk.

  • Do let let a young child specialize early. A 9 year old is not a pitcher. He is a baseball player
  • Athletes should play multiple positions to change the forces applied to the elbow
  • Pitch count. Most organizations have pitch count protocols in place to limit the wear and tear on young athletes
  • Pain. This should be common sense but its not. If your 10 year old has elbow pain when he throws a baseball, he needs to stop
pitch count guidelines

How Do You Treat Little League Elbow?

The first thing to treat Little League Elbow is to remove the aggravating factor (almost always pitching). Then rehab should begin to strengthen the muscles surrounding the medial elbow. As the elbow is an extremely simple joint, it is rehabbed the same in most cases. This means it is rehabbed the same as Golfer’s Elbow.