How to Prevent ‘Little League Elbow’

As a Coach of 9 and 10 year olds, my husband has always monitored the pitch count of our pitchers in a game.  He never lets them go too long.  He is always trying to prevent injury and keep those young arms healthy.

In October, our son, a 10 year old pitcher, was pitching in a game.  He said there was that “one pitch” that “hurt his elbow”.  Hmmm

Of course, we took this seriously, iced it, and kept an eye on it.  After a few days, the pain was still there.  Not good.

After my husband did some research on the internet, we knew something was up, and took him to a pediatric orthopedist.

He had ‘Little League Elbow’.

‘Little League’ What?  What in the world???

‘Little League Elbow’ is something that most commonly occurs between the ages of 8-15 in children that do a lot of OVERHAND THROWING.  It is an injury caused by OVERUSE of REPETITIVE THROWING motion.  The overuse puts too much pressure on the growth plate of inner side of elbow, where the ligament attaches to the growth plate.

HealthyChildren.org says, “Growing Bones are easily injured because the growth plate is much weaker than the ligaments and muscles that attach to it.”

We explained to the doctor that we were NOT crazy aggressive coaches but that we always kept a count of his pitches, etc. etc.

He was happy to hear that but explained to us that it’s not only PITCHING in a game but can include playing CATCHER in a game and all of the warm-up before the game and in between innings.  If a kid throws 50 pitches in a game, then plays catcher in the next few innings, this quickly adds up to 100 THROWS in a day…or more!

He also explained to us that it is not only pitching and catching in a day/game but the OTHER THROWING that we don’t think about.

How many times does he throw in PE?  How about the Fitness Program before school?  What about Recess?  How many throws happen when he’s throwing a ball up against the house in the driveway?

It all adds up.  This is why I wanted to spread the word…

It’s not all about pitching, or catching, or outfield throwing, or just baseball…it is the accumulation of it all and being young, active boys.

The doctor said to rest the arm for 3-4 weeks.  For our son, it took a little bit longer.  We were fortunate that our Fall season was getting ready wrap up so he would have a long off season to heal.  He had to wear a sling for a couple of weeks to remind him not to use his arm.  He was not very happy.  After the pain stopped, he had to do some strengthening exercises that the doctor sent us.  The doctor also said that it was ok to play basketball, or something else that uses other muscles besides the “throwing muscles”.   But, also no Frisbee, or push-ups for a while… it would put too much stress on the elbow.

It is essential to have “normal rest” after pitching which includes NO THROWING during days off and during normal play activities.  Our son has learned to use his non-dominant left arm for throwing in PE at school, etc.

Every league has different rules on resting between days they pitch but “common sense” rules for 9/10 year olds include:

Throws more than 25 pitches, good idea to rest 1 day

Throws more than 50 pitches, 2 days rest between appearances

Throws more than 70 pitches, 3-4 days rest between appearances

Do NOT throw more than 70 pitches in a day!

My husband is extra careful not to let pitchers-catch and catchers-pitch in the same day if at all possible.  Recently, we had a double header and were quickly running out of pitchers so some had to double up for some quick innings.  Again, the total THROW count was low.

So, please keep an eye on the number of throws your boys do in a day.  Add in PE, Fitness Club, Recess, outside play at home.

My son used to throw a ball against the wall in the basement before this happened.  It’s hard being such an active boy.   Again, he has learned to throw with his non-dominant left arm and has actually gotten pretty good at it.  In every challenge, you can find success….

For more information, please check out these important links about ‘Little League Elbow’

healthychildren.org

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Let’s keep those arms healthy!!

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Do you Suffer from Glute, Hip, & Sciatic Pain?

With all of the sitting we do, from baseball/softball games on hard metal bleachers, to sitting in the car for a long time, it’s no wonder that we have glute, hip, and sciatic pain.

A few years ago, I was in a car accident that has left some long lasting back and neck issues and a couple of rounds of physical therapy.  I am a big fan of physical therapy because it has helped me so much. Recently, my physical therapist told me about the Lacrosse ball.  This little baby has saved my life.

When you experience tightness, pain, in the glute or hip area, I was told to put the Lacrosse ball between the painful area in your glute, and a wall.  You roll back and forth on the ball, against the wall, rolling the ball above the hip bone and below the hip bone until you feel the area loosen up.  Pain?  Gone!

Now, when you do this exercise, you might look like you are doing a funny “shimmy dance” up against the wall.  But, it’s ok.  It’s totally worth it.

You can find these Lacrosse balls at any sports store.  I found mine at Target in the sporting goods section.  They came in a package of 4 or 5.

I have also suffered from painful sciatica and was taught that if I squeeze a thick throw pillow (or two small pillows) between my knees for 5 seconds it will strengthen the sciatic nerve in my outside of my leg and relieve the pain.  Holy Moly, it works!

Here’s how:  Lay on your back on the floor, not a bed, use a pillow for your head.  Bend your knees, feet resting on the floor.  Choose a throw pillow (or two) thick enough that your legs in resting position can be hip distance apart.  Keeping your feet in place on the floor, squeeze the pillow(s) with your knees for 5 seconds, and then rest for 5 seconds.  Repeat.

These exercises are easy to do after a long car ride… all you have to do is take your lacrosse ball, find a wall, and so your “shimmy dance”.

And find 2 small throw pillows that you can squeeze with your knees and relieve sciatic pain after sitting for so long in a car or on an airplane.  What an absolute gift to be relieved from this pain.

If you are a sciatica, hip, or glute pain sufferer, I hope these can help you.  Let me hear from you!  Please ‘like’ this post and follow me at teammmombaseball.com.

Feel Good