Houston Spine & Sports Medicine: Little Leaguer’s Elbow and Stress Fracture
Little Leaguer’s elbow is a condition that causes painful irritation and inflammation on the inside of the elbow. As the name implies, it is a common condition for little league players, and it is thought to affect up to 40% of Little League pitchers. Little Leaguer’s Elbow often leads to a stress fracture at the end of the humerous. A stress fracture is a crack in the bone caused by overexertion.
In adolescents, the growth plate on the inside of the elbow has not reached skeletal maturity and has not yet fused. Growing bones are easily injured, because the growth plate is weaker than the attached muscles and ligaments. This leads to adolescent ball players being at a greater risk for developing Little Leaguer’s Elbow.
Symptoms & Causes of Little Leaguer’s Elbow
The main symptom of Little Leaguer’s Elbow is pain on the inside of the elbow which usually develops over time, but may appear suddenly. Pain generally occurs when throwing a baseball, and the pain increases as the player continues the throwing motion. Other symptoms include: aching and swelling on the inside of the elbow when pitching the ball or during any similar throwing motion. Since Little Leaguer’s Elbow causes changes to the elbow joint and instability in the elbow, the pitcher’s performance will likely suffer. In some cases, your child may feel a distinctive, painful pop in his elbow. Other Little League positions can also develop this condition, including: catchers, shortstop, outfielders, and infielders. Little Leaguer’s Elbow is most common in young people between the ages of 8-15.
Little Leaguer’s Elbow occurs when adolescents pitch an excessive amount during games and practices. In Little League, pitchers often develop this condition with repetitive overhand throwing, which causes stress to the growth plate on the inside of the elbow. The greatest stress occurs during the acceleration phase of throwing a ball.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Little Leaguer’s Elbow
Little Leaguer’s Elbow is not the only cause of elbow pain, so it is important for a physician to determine a diagnosis. If your child is suffering with elbow pain and ready to be evaluated and receive treatment, Dr. Shaun Lehmann and Dr. Curtis Fandrich at Houston Spine & Sports Medicine are prepared to help. Both physicians have years of experience treating elbow pain, and they offer multiple nonsurgical treatment options for their patients. During the initial evaluation, the physician will get a medical history, complete a physical exam, and determine if any diagnostic imaging such as a MRI needs to be completed. Onsite Diagnostic Ultrasound is available to evaluate the health of musculoskeletal structures and tendons. Once your child has been evaluated, our physicians will determine a plan of treatment best suited for your child.
Dr. Curtis Fandrich and Dr. Shaun Lehmann strive to treat elbow pain with nonsurgical treatment options that help the body to naturally heal itself. There are multiple nonsurgical treatments available at Houston Spine & Sports Medicine, such as Physical Therapy, Prolotherapy, and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). Our physicians are ready to help determine the best treatment course for your child.
Houston Spine & Sports Medicine is located The Woodlands, Texas. We are easily reached from Conroe, Tomball, Magnolia, Spring, Cypress, Kingwood and most other areas of Houston.