Elbow Injuries Among Young Baseball Players

Now that summer is in full swing, you’ll find most children playing outside and enjoying the sun. Unfortunately, some popular summer sports can also cause injuries if you and your kid are not being careful.

Some of these injuries frequently happen in the baseball field. According to Johns Hopkins, more than 100,000 children from ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for baseball-related injuries. The sport also has the highest fatality rate among children aged 5 to 14, with three to four dying from a baseball injury each year.

Pitching Fatigue

Little pitchers who throw too many pitches are prone to injuries more than any other baseball players. Here are two of the most common elbow injuries that happen to young players:

UCL Tear

The ulnar collateral ligament connects the humerus (arm) to the ulna (forearm). The ligament may tear up due to the repeated stress that comes from throwing away too many pitches.

The UCL injury may require a “Tommy John” surgery, named after a Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher who was the first to undergo a UCL reconstruction procedure.

Little League Elbow

While the UCL tear is an injury to the ligament, the little league elbow is an injury to the growth plate. This injury is also caused by repetitive throwing motions. During a throwing motion, a lot of pressure is placed on the inner elbow. The growth plates, which haven’t fully developed yet, become overused and are more prone to injury.

Many sports injuries can be prevented by using proper form, wearing protective equipment, and watching out for early signs of muscle fatigue or pain. If your little pitcher experiences inner elbow pain, have him or her stop playing immediately. If the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) does not improve the elbow’s condition, then visit a San Diego pediatric orthopedic doctor for a more comprehensive treatment plan.

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