Little League elbow is pain in the elbow joint due to repetitive throwing. This injury occurs in young baseball pitchers before puberty.
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:
These factors increase your chance of developing Little League elbow. Tell your doctor if you or your child has any of these risk factors:
The doctor will ask about:
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 getting Little League elbow, take the following steps:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
About Kids Health
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Aydt S. Little league baseball and the pitch count. The National Athletic Trainers' Association website. Available at: http://www.nata.org/. Accessed July 22, 2008.
Don’t let injuries keep your child in the dugout. Orthopaedic surgeons provide tips to prevent youth baseball and softball injuries. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www6.aaos.org/news/PEMR/press_release.cfm?PRNumber=468. Published April 2006. Accessed July 22, 2008.
Overuse elbow injury related to throwing. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated August 24, 2011. Accessed October 3, 2011.
Professional Team Physicians, Inc. website. Available at: http://www.straws.com/ptp.htm. Accessed July 22, 2008.
Risk of injury from baseball and softball in children 5 to 14 years of age. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/93/4/690.abstract. Published April 1994. Accessed July 22, 2008.
Last reviewed September 2012 by John C. Keel, MD
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.