The pain from this condition in the elbow is due to repetitive throwing, particularly among pre-pubescent children. Throwing too many pitches puts great stress on a young person's elbow ligaments because they are still growing. The ligament attached to the inner side of the elbow begins to pull one of the plates away from the rest of the bone.

What causes it?

Specific throwing events that lead to this condition include:

  • Throwing too hard, too often
  • Increasing the number of pitches thrown each week too quickly
  • Changing to a league where the pitcher's mound is farther away from home plate or the mound is elevated

When does it commonly happen?

Ages 10-15 are particularly at risk. Throwing curve balls and sliders in baseball is also a risk factor.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Little League Elbow include:

  • Pain around the knobby bone on the inner side of the elbow
  • Swelling
  • Pain when throwing overhand

Diagnosis

The physician will ask the patient about symptoms and history of injury and will examine the injured area. The doctor will also examine the elbow for signs of ligament or bone damage to find the source of the pain. Tests may include an X-Ray to look for damage.

Treatment

Treatment measures include:

  • Rest and cessation of pitching until the pain is gone
  • Ice applied to the outside of the elbow for 15-20 minutes each day
  • Medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen for pain and inflammation (under a doctor's supervision)
  • Physical therapy for strengthening and range of motion exercises, all supervised by a health care professional
  • In extreme instances, surgery may be required to reattach the ligament if it is widely separated from the growth plate