Children’s Throwing Injuries in the Elbow

As baseball and softball seasons reach their peaks, doctors often see an increase in young athletes’ elbow problems. The human elbow is a joint made up of three bones (humerus, radius and ulna), and held together by muscles, ligaments and tendons. The combination hinge and pivot joint allows the arm to properly bend and rotate. Several muscles, nerves and tendons cross paths at the elbow.

The most common elbow issue in children is medial apophysitis, also known as “Little Leaguer’s elbow.” With this injury, the athlete will likely feel pain along the bump on the inside of the elbow. “Little Leaguer’s elbow” can become a serious issue if left untreated. The condition occurs when tendons and ligaments are repetitively pulled through excessive throwing. In serious cases, the repeated pulling motions can tear away tiny bone fragments, which can disrupt bone growth.

A less common elbow injury that may occur is osteochondritis dissecans. This condition is also caused by excessive throwing patterns, and involves compression of the elbow and the joint smashing immature bones together. This can loosen the bone and cartilage.

A child should stop throwing if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • Elbow pain
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Locking of the elbow joint

These conditions can be treated both non-surgically and surgically, although the latter of the two is not nearly as common.

Non-surgical Treatment

  • Continuing to throw will only further aggravate the elbow.
  • Cold compresses will help eliminate swelling.
  • Alter the child’s throwing technique. If pain persists or gets worse, stop the activity entirely until the child is treated by a physician.

Surgical Treatment

Depending on the severity of the injury, surgery may be necessary to remove loose bone fragments or reattach a ligament onto a bone.

If your child has an elbow injury, please contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician. For more information about Campbell Clinic, please visit our website.

This blog post was adapted from AAOS.

Treating Sciatica

Those experiencing pain in the lower back or hip that extends into the back of the thigh and leg may have a common condition known as sciatica.

Sciatica may feel like an intense leg cramp, with sharp, shooting pain. This crampy feeling can last for weeks, and can also cause muscles to feel weak and numb.

Those between the ages of 30 and 50 are at the greatest risk for developing this condition. It can occur simply from the wear and tear of muscles over time or any sudden pressure on the vertebrae, but most commonly develops from a herniated disk. The herniated disk puts pressure on the nerve roots that become the sciatic nerve. These nerve roots will likely become inflamed and irritated, thereby increasing pain.

It’s important to meet with your doctor to diagnose and treat sciatica. Be prepared to offer a complete medical history, including details on where and when your pain started and how it feels. Your physician will likely conduct a physical examination to pinpoint the issue, and may ask you to do various exercises, or order X-rays or an MRI.

In severe circumstances, sciatica can be treated surgically. Most often, however, the condition will heal itself after adequate time and rest. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can help to manage the pain, though you’ll need to consult with your doctor before taking any medication. Although resting the affected area is of the utmost importance, some movement is essential to the recovery process. Movement will help to reduce inflammation, which reduces pain. Every circumstance is different, and sometimes your physician may suggest cortisone injections and/or physical therapy.

If you’re having issues with sciatica, contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician. For more information about Campbell Clinic, please visit our website.

This blog post was adapted from AAOS.