Medial epicondyle apophysitis is a common problem facing baseball players of today’s youth. More commonly affected are young pitchers, due to the repeated overhead movements that are performed improperly; the lack of strength and endurance, and throwing breaking pitches too early. The medial epicondyle is where a lot of the muscles that perform the throwing motion of the forearm, attach, and help stabilize the elbow during the throwing motion. Repetitive throwing movement can greatly stress this growth plate and cause to become inflamed or irritated. “Little league elbow” is characterized as just that.
There is normally pain on the inside of the elbow when performing the throwing motion, as well as swelling, with difficulty extending the arm. When treating “little league elbow” it is important to refrain from throwing for at least a few weeks to allow the growth plate to heal. Ice may encourage the swelling to decrease in the elbow. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to improve muscle strength and endurance, which may allow for less stress on the growth plate, which could prevent re-injury. A return-to-throwing program will be initiated once your doctor as cleared you of the initial stage of healing and recovery, gradually introducing the muscles to the proper form and control that are needed for competitive use.