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Little League elbow is pain in the elbow joint due to repetitive throwing. This injury occurs in young baseball pitchers before puberty.
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During this injury, the ligament attached to the inner side of the elbow begins to pull one of the growth plates away from the rest of the bone. Since the bones are still growing, the growth plates are weak and susceptible to injury. Certain types of throwing may lead to this condition, such as:
Little League elbow is more common in boys and in those aged 10-15 years old. Baseball pitching, especially throwing curve balls or sliders also increases risk.
You will be asked about your child's symptoms and medical history. Other information needed will include how the injury occurred, when the pain occurs, and about previous injuries.
The doctor will also:
Treatment and recovery depend on the severity of the injury. Recovery time ranges from 6 weeks to 3 months.
To reduce your chance of Little League elbow:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Ortho Info— American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness. American Academy of Pediatrics: Risk of injury from baseball and softball in children. Pediatrics. 2001;107(4):782-784.
Throwing injuries in the elbow in children. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00328. Updated April 2011. Accessed November 15, 2017.
Why counting pitches counts. The National Athletic Trainers' Association website. Available at: http://www.nata.org/nata-news-blog/why-counting-pitches-counts. Published October 28, 2014. Accessed November 15, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS Last Updated: 12/20/2014