Little League elbow (medial epicondylitis/apophysitis) is an overuse injury to the growth plate of the inner elbow in children around 8 to15 years of age. It can cause elbow, forearm, and hand pain. This condition is associated with overhand throwing sports such as baseball and softball, but can also occur with golfing, swimming, and other vigorous overhead activities.
Overuse or improper technique can result in an inflammation of the growth plate and the bony prominence on the inside of a child’s elbow. To prevent it, be sure your child has adequate warm-up, rest, and recovery periods, and ensure that pitch counts are followed.
Typically, Little League elbow shows up as a pain on the inside of the elbow with throwing actions. More severe cases may result in painful inflammation or swelling of the bony prominence on the inside of the elbow. These sensations may extend down the forearm. This condition can also cause pain or weakness while gripping. Don’t allow your child to “play through” pain, as it can worsen the injury and lead to elbow fracture.
Our board-certified doctor will perform a thorough physical examination. This condition is usually diagnosed by maneuvering the elbow and through imaging like x-ray or MRI.
Resting the affected elbow is the most important step, while applying ice packs for 15-20 minutes at a time will decrease pain and swelling. Let our doctor know if this is not helping.
If your child is having difficulty throwing without pain or experiencing swelling or weakness in the elbow, contact Orthopedic Specialists for an evaluation. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained doctors are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of all elbow conditions, and we understand how important it is to treat injuries in young athletes.