Little League Elbow | What to Do When Your Child Is Injured
It’s a fact of life that kids love to play hard. But as most any parent knows, that doesn’t always mean they’re playing safe. Without the proper conditioning, precautions and common sense, an exciting softball game can lead to a disappointing week on the couch if your child happens to injure themselves in pursuit of the perfect home run.
One of the most common ailments a young softball player can fall prey to is “Little League Elbow,” but that doesn’t mean your child has to suffer through it too. Read our guide to find out what it is, how to treat it and how it can be prevented in the first place.
Silly Name, Big Problem
Though it doesn’t sound like a particularly serious injury, LLE can be quite painful and put a serious damper on your child’s game plans. LLE is an overuse injury that affects, you guessed it, the elbows of softball players, particularly the joints and tendons in pitchers and outfielders. It’s regarded as a childhood-specific injury because the bones of children are constantly growing and changing in a malleable state. As a result, children who are pre-or-mid puberty are the most vulnerable.
Little League Elbow requires quick treatment in order to get your child back on the field as soon as possible. If left untreated, LLE can make your child more susceptible to fractures and sprains; it can turn a painful inconvenience into a full-blown hospital visit. If you find your child complaining that their pitching arm is sore, and if it seems to be a struggle for them to throw as fast and far as they used to, it might be time to bring them to a pediatrician and see if they’ve contracted Little League Elbow.
Getting Back on the Field After an Injury
Fortunately, LLE doesn’t have to be a game breaker for long. You can get your child back on the field with relative ease by following a few easy steps.
First of all, if your child comes down with LLE, it’s going to take a lot of rest to get them back in peak condition. Since it’s a repetitive stress injury, it’s important to avoid repeating the stress that put it in that state in the first place. It may take a bit of coaxing to get your child to be patient if they’re eager to get back in the game, but the rest and recovery time is essential.
Another effective form of Little League Elbow treatment is physical therapy. There are many physical therapists who specialize in youth injuries and have plenty of expertise when it comes to rehabilitating and strengthening your child’s joints and ligaments. A good program will focus not just on their elbows but also their shoulders, back and core to make sure your child’s entire range of motion is dynamic and all their kinetic muscles are working in harmony with each other.
Even if your kid is feeling ready to hit the bases again, some extra help might be needed to make sure Little League Elbow doesn’t make a repeat performance. An elbow brace is a great thing to invest in if you want your child’s injury to abate quickly and permanently. A brace won’t just help them recover and keep them safe; it will improve their range of motion and could very well end up helping their game in general!
Preventing the Dreaded LLE
Even though Little League Elbow is an unfortunately common injury among youth softball players, there are a few things you can do to make sure your child doesn’t end up joining those ranks.
A big step toward mitigating the chances of your child contracting LLE will be to emphasize technique rather than power in their throwing game. LLE is, again, a repetitive stress injury. The more stress your child puts on their elbow joint, the more likely he or she will suffer from LLE. Let your child know it’s about the quality of style, not the quantity of force.
Little League Elbow benefits from treatment and prevention alike, and it all starts with proper physical conditioning and stretching. Even in the off-season, it’s important that your child keep themselves limber and flexible for the games to come. Since LLE tends to creep up slowly rather than besiege your child all at once (like an ACL tear, for example), it’s extra important that they keep themselves in healthy condition all year.
And of course, a brace is never a bad option when it comes to keeping Little League Elbow at bay. Whether you think you’re more suited to a simple and cost-effective sleeve or a more heavy-duty option for bringing your child’s athleticism to its maximum potential, a good brace won’t just prevent injury but will help them reach the very peak of their abilities.
SportsBraces.com Has You Covered
We’re constantly updating our blog with awesome tips for how to stay safe and fit throughout the year, and we always have new items available in our expansive shop. Whether you’re worried about your slugger getting Little League Elbow or you’re looking to gain the advantage in your after-work pickup games, SportsBraces.com has what you need to stay in the game better and longer than anyone else.
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