Little League Elbow

There's a common, painful problem young athletes, parents and coaches need to look out for.
It's called little league elbow and boys 10 to 15 who play certain sports are it's most likely victims.
Looking at Charlie Yokem now you'd never guess not long ago an injury kept him from pitching..his favorite position.
"Couldn't throw. It was hard to bat," he says.
After six years playing baseball, at age twelve Charlie got Little League Elbow.
It brought him to CHRISTUS Schumpert's Certified Athletic Physical Therapy and Sports Specialist Rich Dechowitz.
"Kids are very enthusiastic and they want to play and they're willing to do anything so when they complain about it you know they're hurting," Dechowitz says.
Dechowitz says Charlie was in the second of four stages of Little League Elbow which is common in throwers.
"Eighty-five to 90 percent of throwers had some kind of elbow problem as opposed to little leaguers who didn't throw or played other positions."
And it's not just little leaguers.
Stress from repetitive movement involving the elbows in sports like football, javelin throwing and swimming can also cause the painful condition...where the ligament attached to the inner side of the elbow begins to pull one of the growth plates away from the rest of the bone.
Left untreated Dechowitz says it can lead to serious problems.
"Premature arthritis, premature degeneration, can hurt other parts of the body because you're trying to compensate for it. They tighten down on the elbow. They restrict their range," he says.
Thankfully Dechowitz got to Charlie before it came to that.
And after six to eight weeks of therapeutic strengthening and stretching...and some tips on how to continue them on his own...Charlie's back on the field playing his favorite position.
"The pain, it started going way after I didn't use it as much and I just made sure I didn't hurt it again," he says.
Little League Elbow prevention tips include always warming up and stretching, limiting throwing time and practicing good technique.