Prevention and Management of Little League Elbow

Little league elbow syndrome is a valgus overload to the medial elbow that occurs as a result of repetitive throwing motions. Increased single-sport participation with year-round training, higher intensities at young ages, and longer competitive seasons are contributing factors to the increased injury rates seen in youth athletes.

1. Year Round Fitness with Active Downtime from Baseball

In Winnipeg, baseball for the most athletes is seasonal and therefore training can go from very little to quite in intense in a short period of time. Maintaining year round fitness and strength will help to reduce the risk of little league elbow. Active downtime from baseball means avoiding the throwing action for periods of time in order to rest the elbow, while continuing to maintain fitness through other sports.

2. Technique

Pitching with proper control and technique goes a long way in avoiding and preventing the onset of little league elbow. This means teaching the youth athletes as early as possible about techniques that include precision and control before teaching them to depend on power. Conventional wisdom says avoiding curve ball techniques until a later age when the elbow and growth plate has fused and strengthened

 3. Recognize the Symptoms Early

The key to the affective management and treatment of little league elbow is noticing the pain early on and taking the appropriate actions. For parents this means teaching their children to recognize the initial symptoms, which is typically a medial pain in the elbow. Once this pain has begun to appear, the elbow has a weakness and can be prone to more serious injuries. Furthermore, this pain will slowly become more frequent and intense if preventitive action and treatment is not taken immediately.

4. Sports Massage Therapy

Sports massage therapist can provide proper assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for the youth athlete.

5. Slow and Steady Return to Baseball

After a full recovery from little league elbow, athletes can return to the field but their pitching and throwing duties should be taken on slowly and steadily. Start off in position that requires limited amounts of throwing. Sports massage therapy can be maintained to avoid future injury.

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