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.

Preventing + Treating Shin Splints

The condition of shin splints (also known as medial tibia stress syndrome) is a common, exercise-related issue resulting in pain along the inner edge of the tibia.

This issue most commonly occurs in runners, but can be associated with any physical activity. Shin splints develop after muscle and bone tissues are overworked. Changes in frequency and duration of exercise, as well as having flat feet or exercising with improper footwear can also lead to the syndrome.

There are several ways to treat shin splints.

  • First and foremost, it’s crucial to consult with your physician and follow your doctor’s instructions as every case is different.
  • Because the condition is most commonly caused by overuse, rest will help relieve the pain.
  • Reduce pain and swelling with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.
  • Apply ice or cold packs for 20 minutes at a time to the affected area. However, do not apply ice directly to your skin.
  • Prevent additional swelling with compression. This can be easily accomplished by wearing an elastic compression bandage.
  • Supportive shoes with good cushioning decrease the pressure placed on your shins throughout the day.
  • Those who have flat feet may benefit from orthotics (shoe inserts that help align and stabilize your foot).

After experiencing shin splints, you will undoubtedly want to take action to prevent the condition from reoccurring. The following preventative actions can help reduce your risk for redeveloping shin splints.

  • Use proper footwear. Look for athletic shoes that match your foot structure. Visit a local running shop to get a specialist’s input.
  • Remember that any fitness regimen should be built gradually to avoid overuse.
  • Add some variety to your typical exercise programs with cross-training.

If your pain sustains, 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.