Little League Elbow

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Little League Elbow

Overview

The little league elbow injury occurs due to the repetitive throwing movement largely seen in younger children. This action pulls on the tendons and ligaments of the elbow. The little leaguer may complain of pain in the elbow, difficulty straightening the arm completely, or a locked elbow. You may also notice swelling or a bump on the inside of the elbow. If this goes untreated it can become aggravated and tear ligaments and tendons from the bone. Normal bone growth can become disrupted ultimately resulting in bone deformity. This injury is seen often in children between the ages of 9-14 years old.

Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Little League Elbow

Children normally see a good result from the nonsurgical options for little league elbow.

  • Rest.​ Allow time for the body to heal without aggravating the injury further by allowing a child to continue playing a sport that requires throwing. This could lead to major complications.
  • Ice.​ Use ice to bring down any swelling. Ice your elbow in 20-minute intervals and wrap the ice pack in a towel before placing it on your skin.
  • Avoid Activities.​ After several days of rest, if your child returns to the activity causing pain and complains of pain, stop the activity again.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medication.​ Give your child ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce inflammation and pain. Follow the package directions for quantity and how often to give it to your child.

Throwing Guidelines  

Moving forward, ensure your child isn’t exceeding the throwing guidelines for their age. There are limits to the total amount of pitches one child should throw per game, week, season, year, and the rest guidelines between the number of pitches thrown per age. These guidelines are created to ensure there’s a proper amount of rest time between your child’s activities.

9- to 10-year-old pitchers:

  • 50 pitches per game
  • 75 pitches per week
  • 1,000 pitches per season
  • 2,000 pitches per year

11- to 12-year-old pitchers:

  • 75 pitches per game
  • 100 pitches per week
  • 1,000 pitches per season
  • 3,000 pitches per year

13- to 14-year-old pitchers:

  • 75 pitches per game
  • 125 pitches per week
  • 1,000 pitches per season
  • 3,000 pitches per year

For pitchers age 7 to 16:

Pitches in a day / Rest time:

  • 61 or more / 4 days
  • 41-60 / 3 days
  • 21-40 / 2 days
  • 1-20 / 1 day

For pitchers age 17 to 18:

Pitches in a day / Rest time:

  • 76 or more / 4 days
  • 51-75 / 3 days
  • 26-50 / 2 days
  • 1-25 / 1 day