Avoiding Little League Elbow

CLEVELAND CLINIC, OH-- With baseball season is in full swing, parents may be treating their little leaguers aches and pains a little too often these days.

Some baseball injuries are more serious than others. Doctors said "little leaguer elbow" causes additional problems as children get older.

Dr. Mark Schickendantz said, "if that goes untreated, obviously, it's persistently painful. They can injure that growth plate, rarely, that growth plate can be fractured. It can pull away and then that may necessitate surgery."

Little Leaguer elbow is an overuse injury. It's the result of repetitive stress on the growth plate on the inside of the elbow. It's typically seen in players between age eight and 15. Pitchers and catchers are more susceptible, but no position is immune. Leaving it untreated could lead to fractures around the elbow, bone spurs, or even early arthritis. If your little leaguer is experiencing an aching or sharp pain on the inside of their elbow, you should get it checked out.

Schickendantz expalined, "it's going to require a period of rest in order for that to get better. The amount of rest really depends on the severity of it, it may resolve in 7-10 days, or it may take 3 or 4 weeks for it to settle down."

To decrease the risk of developing little leaguer elbow, doctors encourage parents to avoid allowing children to play baseball year-round, or limit how much they throw.

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