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Medial Apophysitis (Little League Elbow)

Definition:

Little League elbow is an overuse injury which occurs in young baseball players who throw the ball too hard or too often. Forearm muscles used to throw the ball constantly pull on the medial epicondyle and the soft growth center can be pulled apart.

Causes:

Little League elbow is most often caused by a young baseball player throwing the ball too hard or too often or both, affecting the portion of the elbow bone (humerus) called the medial epicondyle.

In severe cases, a young player may tear through the soft growth center and detach the medial epicondyle from the upper arm bone.

Symptoms:

Symptoms include swelling and pain on the inside (medial) part of the elbow. Arm motion may be decreased because of pain.

Treatment:

Treatment for mild to moderate cases of Little League elbow includes:

  • Rest
  • Coaching to teach the proper way to throw the ball
  • Physical therapy

Severe cases may require surgical repair. Recovery may take 6 weeks to 6 months, depending on the severity of the injury.

Elbow pain may be caused by tendinitis, bursitis, fractures, sprains, arthritis, cellulitis, tumors, and ulnar nerve entrapment.
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