'Little leaguer elbow'

By Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Jul 07 2014 01:13:17 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 08 2014 07:40:00 AM EDT

With baseball season is in full-swing parents may be treating their little leaguers aches and pains a little more-often these days. Some baseball-related injuries are more serious than others. Dr. Mark Schickendantz, an orthopaedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health, says "little leaguer elbow" can cause additional problems as the child gets older.

"If that goes untreated. Obviously, it's persistently painful. They can injure that growth plate, rarely, that growth plate can be fractured. It can pull away and then that may necessitate surgery," he explained.

"Llittle leaguer elbow" is an overuse injury.  It's the result of repetitive stress on the growth plate on the inside of the elbow.

It's typically seen in players between age 8 and 15. Pitchers and catchers are more susceptible, but no position is immune. Leaving it untreated could lead to fractures around the elbow, bone spurs or even early arthritis.

Schickendantz says if your little leaguer is experiencing an aching or sharp pain on the inside of their elbow, you should get it checked out.

"It's going to require a period of rest in order for that to get better. The amount of rest really depends on the severity of it, it may resolve in 7-10 days, or it may take 3 or 4 weeks for it to settle down," he said.

To decrease the risk of developing "little leaguer elbow," Schickendantz encourages parents to avoid allowing children to play baseball year-round, or limit how much they throw.

Learn more from Cleveland Clinic's treatment guide, Understanding Elbow Pain.

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