Limiting pitches could reduce risk of Little League elbow
Friday, April 26, 2019

With the spring season heating up, so are the number of cases of Little League elbow, a common injury found in children playing baseball or softball.

"Throwing is sort of like an abnormal motion," Dr. Mike Greiwe, orthopaedic surgeon at OrthoCincy, said. "It's not something we do every day."

According to Dr. Greiwe, Little League elbow is a collection of symptoms that generally come from overuse.

"The injuries really particularly are stemming around the inside of the elbow," Dr. Greiwe said. "When you are younger, around a growth plate. When you are older, it might be the ligament inside the elbow. Initially, there's just inflammation, because when you throw hard, you have to get your arm all the way back and they get inflamed."

To reduce further tearing, Dr. Greiwe says to strengthen the muscles first around the shoulder, or what's called scapular strengthening.
However, the biggest risk comes from playing too often, in multiple leagues.

"The most important thing is limiting those pitches, called a pitch count," Dr. Greiwe said. "And make sure you adhere to that especially if you're a parent and you have a child in baseball, you definitely want to limit the pitch count."

There are several apps that can help you track pitch count, especially if you are playing in more than one league.

This kind of injury can lead to the need for surgery if muscle tearing doesn't eventually heal.