Little Leaguer's elbow occurs in young baseball players who throw the
ball too hard or too often (for example, more than 80 times twice a week). The
growing part of the elbow, called the growth center (physis), widens and
enlarges a part of the elbow bone called the
medial epicondyle of the humerus. Muscles of the forearm that are used to throw
the ball constantly pull on the medial epicondyle during throwing and pull the
soft growth center apart. In severe cases, a young player may tear through the
soft growth center and detach the medial epicondyle from the upper arm
Symptoms include swelling and pain on the inside (medial) part of the
elbow. Arm motion may be decreased because of pain.
Treatment for mild to moderate cases of Little Leaguer's elbow
includes rest, coaching on the proper way to throw the ball, and physical
therapy. Severe cases require surgical repair. Recovery may take 6 weeks to 6
months, depending on the severity of the injury.
February 18, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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