Little League Elbow, also called Medial Apophysitis, is a common injury in young children who play active sport. Repeated action of throwing a ball may stress the tendons and ligaments that support the elbow joint may get stressed beyond their limits resulting in this condition. The elbow is a type of a hinge and pivot joint comprising of the humerus, ulna and the radius. Many muscles, connective tissues and nerves cross each other at this joint. The condition can be serious if the ligaments or tendon gets torn and detached from the bone. It may result in permanent deformity or stunted growth in the child.
- Playing a high-intensity sport at a young age
- Playing one sport for a prolonged period of time, specifically the ones that involve a lot of throwing action
- Use of faulty technique during and lack of conditioning after a sport
- Overuse of the joint by pitchers, fielders, etc.
- Sharp pain in the bony protrusion on the inner side of the elbow
- A feeling of catching or locking of the joint
- Limited range of motion
- Inability to perform basic tasks that involve use of the joint
- Tenderness and inflammation
- A pop may be felt when the joint is moved
- Development of bone spurs
- Arthritis may set in early childhood
- X-ray imaging of the affected joint to analyze bone damage, if any
- Palpation to check for visible symptoms
- Range of motion may be tested
- Resting the affected joint by keeping the arm at chest level
- All sport activities need to be avoided for some time
- The patient should learn to practice throwing in such a way that it does not stress the joint much
- Ice packs may be applied at regular intervals to get relief from pain and inflammation
Surgery may be recommended when conservative methods do not give satisfactory results. This may be performed if the child is above 12 years of age. During the procedure, the loose pieces of tissue and bone fragments may be removed. Surgical grafting of the tendons or ligaments to repair the damage The connective tissues may be reattached or tightened surgically to improve the condition Regular physical therapy to strengthen the core, arms, shoulder and back that lend support to the joint Pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed by the doctor
The surgeons at OrthoTexas offer complete treatment for Little League Elbow and other orthopedic conditions. For an appointment, call 972-492-1334.