Continuously Requested Questions About Little League Shoulder and Elbow


Maybe the one factor extra thrilling than sharing the love of a sport with our children is watching them play it. Training collectively, attending video games collectively, celebrating the wins and commiserating the losses collectively bond us in methods that may final a lifetime.

However someplace alongside the best way youth sports activities turned extra about profitable and fewer about enjoyable and fundamentals. In my view, therein lies the primary purpose why children are getting so many overuse accidents. Two specifically I’d like to focus on are little league shoulder and little league elbow. As a bodily therapist who runs a Thrower’s Clinic, listed below are among the most often requested questions I obtain about them:

What are little league shoulder and little league elbow?

Little league shoulder and little league elbow are overuse accidents attributable to repetitive stress to the bone, which might widen the expansion plate and end in ache and irritation. These accidents are the equal of tendonitis or muscle tears which can be seen in excessive schoolers and adults. The distinction is that youngsters are injuring their development plates as a substitute of muscular tissues, and if it will get too unhealthy, they will pull the expansion plate off of the bone (known as an avulsion fracture). On this case the damage would want casting and/or surgical procedure.

How widespread are little league shoulder and elbow?

For teenagers between the ages of 10-13 enjoying baseball, as much as 40% of them will endure a bit league shoulder or elbow damage. Any such damage has been rising by 8.5% every year, and about 7% of them may have the damage reappear in following seasons.

Little league shoulder and elbow are extra widespread in boys than ladies, as a result of ladies are likely to hit their largest development spurt before boys – round 8 or 9 – earlier than these throwing sports activities grow to be actually aggressive. In different phrases, ladies’ development plates typically shut before boys’. The damage most often occurs when the expansion plate continues to be open and children are repetitively throwing or hitting. Children who’ve development spurts later in life can have this damage of their older teen years, corresponding to 15 or 16.

Who’s most at-risk for little league shoulder and elbow?

Younger athletes who’re specializing in a single throwing sport year-round are essentially the most at-risk. Pitchers who additionally play the catcher place are at 2.9 instances better threat. It isn’t essentially the kind of throws, however quite the sheer quantity of throws, that causes essentially the most injury. For instance, curveballs and off-speed pitches don’t trigger extra stress (if thrown accurately) than fastballs. The difficulty is that youngsters are sometimes inaccurate with curveballs and off-speed pitches, so that they need to throw extra to make up for it.

Along with baseball gamers, it could additionally happen with hitting sports activities corresponding to volleyball, the place there’s exhausting, repetitive, overhead movement.

What does this damage really feel like?

There are two noteworthy issues to recollect about how this damage begins. It begins as fatigue, and fatigue results in ache. Fatigue can appear to be shaking out the arms, sloppy mechanics, and a slower velocity. The extra apparent warning indicators are wincing and altering up their throws to keep away from ache. As a result of this damage begins as fatigue and results in ache, it may be simply dismissed as not an enormous deal. Additional, fatigue and ache that cease after they’re completed throwing continues to be a difficulty. 

Why is it vital to take day without work?

This damage outcomes from repetitive motions taking place over time. It’s not sometimes acute. Subsequently, taking day without work helps take the repetitive stressors off. However spending time away from one sport doesn’t imply they need to be inactive. Enjoying one other sport like basketball, though it makes use of the identical arm, will scale back the chance of damage. Analysis means that when younger athletes don’t take three months of relaxation within the off season, they’ve 62-90% better threat of severely injuring their arm. 

Why do we have to comply with pitch counts AND relaxation?

The Little League established pitch counts to assist younger gamers keep away from arm accidents. Nonetheless, I feel the emphasis has been positioned on pitch counts and never sufficient on relaxation. This particularly comes into play throughout tournaments. For instance, a 12-year-old pitcher will throw 70+ pitches on Friday night time of the match. After which, as a result of he’s the staff’s greatest pitcher, he will even throw a bunch of pitches on Sunday (maybe as many as he threw on Friday) to assist end out the match. The issue is that he didn’t get the 5 days of relaxation in between these video games to assist his arm heal. We don’t even put this quantity of stress on main leaguers’ arms.

Why ought to we see a pediatric supplier for little league shoulder or elbow?

In case your little one has this sort of damage, it’s vital to see a pediatric supplier. As a result of adults have completed rising, grownup suppliers don’t sometimes see and deal with development plate accidents. They require considerably extra relaxation and rebuilding than comparable muscular accidents in adults.

Discuss to your little one about little league shoulder and elbow

You will need to have open dialogue about this damage along with your younger athlete. Whether it is caught early, it’s a a lot simpler restoration. We are able to hold your little one enjoying, however lower the period of time he performs and the variety of pitches he throws. The intention is to maintain him within the sport however hold him protected. A full-blown damage would require 3-5 months relaxation with strengthening and rehabilitation.


Cincinnati Kids’s presents a Thrower’s Clinic that helps children forestall and deal with throwing accidents. It’s applicable for each wholesome and injured athletes. To study extra, go to our web site.


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