One of the more common injuries in children’s sports—specifically in baseball—is medial apophysitis, more commonly known as Little Leaguer’s elbow. Baseball pitchers are most susceptible to this injury, but any athlete who throws regularly can be susceptible. If you’re concerned your child may be at risk of Littler Leaguer’s elbow, read below to make sure you know what action to take.
- Symptoms: It’s important to first and foremost distinguish if your child is suffering from Little Leaguer’s elbow or something more serious. Most of the time, this injury occurs with little or no warning. Symptoms include sharp pain, aching and swelling on the inner side of the elbow. When the injury is mild, your child may only experience these symptoms when pitching; however, as the injury progresses, symptoms may be felt whenever her or she throws at all.
- Diagnosis: If you suspect your child is suffering from Little Leaguer’s elbow, it’s important to see a doctor. Your child’s doctor will ask what symptoms your child is experiencing and will most likely order X-rays to figure out if the growth plate is still open. X-rays will also help determine if there are any other bone issues occurring.
- Treatment: Once your child is diagnosed with Little Leaguer’s elbow, they will need to take time off from pitching or throwing. To alleviate pain and swelling, it’s a good idea to ice the elbow. Your child’s doctor will also likely prescribe a physical therapy program to help your child rehabilitate properly. Surgery is necessary only rarely, depending on the injury’s specifics. Once your child is back to playing ball, you may want to work with a trained professional to ensure he or she is throwing correctly.
- Prevention: In order to avoid Little Leaguer’s elbow, your child should maintain year-round fitness and continue conditioning even during the offseason. There are also pitching guidelines that should be followed: 75 pitches a week for 8-10 year olds, 100 pitches a week for 11-12 year olds and 125 pitches a week for 13-14 year olds. Adhering to these guidelines will help assure that your child is not overexerting him or herself and putting unnecessary stress on their own body.
By taking the proper precautions, you can help minimize your child’s risk of Little Leaguer’s elbow. However, if your child does experience this injury, reassure him or her that, with the correct treatment, they should be able to throw again soon.