What is Little League Elbow?
Little League Elbow is a common overuse injury typically seen in young baseball pitchers, aged 8 to 14, caused by repetitive throwing motions and incorrect techniques, resulting in inflammation or damage to the elbow’s growth plate. This stress leads to pain, swelling, and limited movement. Recovering from little league elbow takes special care!
The name stems from its prevalence among Little League players due to excessive throwing stress. Symptoms include elbow pain, tenderness, and reduced mobility during throwing. Treatment involves rest, ice, and physical therapy exercises focusing on strength and proper mechanics. Severe cases may require medical evaluation and interventions like bracing or surgery. Prevention entails coaching on proper mechanics, following pitch count guidelines, and ensuring adequate rest between sessions, vital to reducing the risk of this injury in young athletes.
RECOVER from Little League Elbow with these 3 Easy Steps!
If you or someone you know is experiencing elbow pain, keep reading because we are going through some game plans to help you ease the discomfort. Dive into three easy steps to alleviate the pain and strengthen those vital muscles to help you in recovering from little league elbow
Step 1: Relieve Joint Tension
Little League Elbow often stems from intense joint compression and tension. The goal here is to decrease the stress and friction within the joint, promoting relief. Here’s a simple drill to provide relief:
- Use a band to create tension on your elbow and slowly bend, allowing the joint to move and decrease tension.
- Hold the bend for five seconds and repeat this ten times. This helps reduce stress and friction within the joint, easing the discomfort significantly.
Step 2: Mobilize the Mid Back
Believe it or not, the root cause often lies in the mid-back, affecting elbow movement. You can do this to improve your mid-back mobility and relieve some tensions.
- Perform foam rolling exercises for the mid-back, aiming for ten repetitions. Feel free to embrace the cracking sensation as you roll.
- Target the lats by rolling under the armpit, rocking side to side 10-15 times, ensuring you breathe and hold through the tension.
- Focus on the triceps by applying pressure and extending/bending the arm 10 times.
- Two rounds of these exercises can effectively alleviate elbow pain.
Two rounds of these exercises can effectively alleviate elbow pain.
Step 3: Target the Triceps
Tight triceps can exacerbate elbow discomfort. This exercise which targets the triceps can be a game-changer.
- Place your tricep on a suitable surface, applying gentle pressure.
- Perform gentle extensions and bends targeting tender spots, aiming for 10 repetitions.
- Incorporate these exercises into your routine three times a week for optimal relief from Little League Elbow discomfort.
Check out this helpful video by Dr Natty as he demonstrates these 3 easy and effective recovery exercises.
Strengthen the Surrounding Muscles
After alleviating the tension that was contributing to the discomfort, it’s time to shift your attention towards fortifying the muscles surrounding your elbows and shoulders. These exercises will not only build strength but also enhance stability and resilience in these crucial areas, working towards a more robust shoulder and upper body.
Rotator Cuff Strengthening
Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles is vital as they stabilize the shoulder during throws, reducing stress on the elbows and aiding in maintaining proper throwing mechanics.
- Sit with elbows and knees at a 90-degree angle, holding a small dumbbell (around five pounds) with relaxed shoulders.
- Slowly lower the dumbbell while keeping the shoulders from rolling forward.
- Control the movement back to the starting position. Aim for 10 to 20 reps across four sets to fatigue the rotator cuff muscles for better shoulder stability and reduced stress on the elbows.
Strengthening the Lats with Seated Rows
If you work on strengthening the lats, this helps prevent excessive shoulder movement during throwing, reducing stress on the elbows. The focus here is to strengthen the lats, crucial for deceleration during throwing motions.
- Use a resistance band hooked high (even at a door frame).
- Keep shoulders down while pulling the wrist towards the bottom of the ribcage.
- Perform the seated rows slowly and with resistance.
- Aim for 10 to 15 reps across three challenging sets to feel the burn in the lat muscles. Strengthening the lats aids in deceleration during throwing, reducing pressure on the elbows.
Engaging the Serratus Anterior and Shoulder Muscles
The serratus anterior muscle, vital for shoulder blade movement during throws. Strengthening these muscles improves shoulder blade function, enhancing arm strength and endurance for prolonged baseball play, minimizing stress on the elbow joint.
- Stand with shoulders at a 90-degree angle.
- Perform the landmine press by pressing forward, reaching, and slowly lowering the weight.
- Aim for 10 to 15 reps across 3 to 4 sets. Use a smaller barbell or a dumbbell if needed.
Check out this video as Dr. Natty shows these exercises to strengthen your muscles for a stronger and pain-free elbow!
These exercises form a comprehensive roadmap for recovery from Little League Elbow. To all young athletes, consistency is key—perform these routines at least three times a week to witness significant improvements and prevent future pain.
At Myokinetix, our one main focus is on supporting young athletes and their well-being. We understand the importance of protecting their health, preventing injuries, and empowering them to grow stronger, ensuring a promising future. In addition to helping young athletes with Little League Elbow, our commitment extends to provide support for long-term athletic success.
We urge parents to encourage their kids to embrace these exercises for a stronger, pain-free experience on the field. Remember, while pain may seem discouraging, there’s always a way back to the game you love. So, stay resilient, keep training, and get back in the game stronger than ever after recovering from little league elbow.
If you want to work with Myokinetix for your child’s recovery, please book a call with our patient development coordinator here!