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Little League Elbow – growth plate fractures
lost a season from repetitive use injury
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rayoflight

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May 6, 2019
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May 6, 2019 – 10:16 pm
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Hi all – I’m looking for some insights in case anyone else has gone through this. My son (age 11) is on a competitive travel team. He’s our main catcher, and pitches in more limited fashion. We play about 60 games per year an generally go year round, with breaks of a month or so summer/winter.

Just before our season started in March, my son was indoors pitching, and “felt something”. Upon X-ray at the ortho – “little league elbow”. The inner growth plate had pulled away 2.5mm, and was also fractured…a tiny fracture, but there nonetheless. He was in a hard cast for two weeks, then 4 more weeks of zero use. This doc noted he would normally be casted for longer, but since the bone would heal in two weeks, he didn’t want to prolong regaining flexibility. After 7 total weeks, Xrays came back perfect, growth plate totally normal, and the fracture long healed. My son was cleared for return to “light duty” – zero pitching or catching – basically, playing 2B with no hard throwing. Doc said hitting shouldn’t be impacted at all.

So we went to practice, then did a scrimmage – all light use of arm. My son noted his arm felt a bit sore, but was OK. Did fine at BP with zero pain. Did two weekend games (easy on the throws), and he came to me in pain, so I shut him down. X-rayed the next day. We found ANOTHER new slight fracture (like a tiny crack) in the growth plate – different place than before. AND – the growth plate was still in it’s normal spot. He got casted again – and doc said to sit out the season.

The explanation was basically that with year-round sports for young players, their muscles/ligaments grow faster/stronger than the bone (like, a growth plate). So probably, as he used his arm, it pulled on the growth plate and slightly cracked it (again, different spot, same arm).

Doc originally said that hitting shouldn’t impact this “unless he has really bad swing mechanics”. He doesn’t – he’s worked with pros for years, has a great swing and is one of our top hitters.

If he doesn’t step on the field on defense this Spring season. Our next season starts in August. But I’d love for him to be able to hit.

Has anyone gone through this? The motion from hitting is so different than throwing. I can’t understand how hitting could perhaps cause this to happen a third time. Thoughts?

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