Little League Shoulder

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Proximal humeral epiphysiolysis, commonly known as little league shoulder, is one of the most common shoulder injuries from baseball. This overuse injury, which causes shoulder pain when throwing and doing repetitive overhand motions, also affects athletes of sports such as tennis and volleyball.

The board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric orthopedic specialists with Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, have the expertise to treat children and teens experiencing little league shoulder.

What Is Little League Shoulder (Proximal Humeral Epiphysiolysis)?

Three bones make up the shoulder — the collar bone, upper arm bone and shoulder blade. The shoulder blade and upper arm bone are connected by a joint, and that joint is very close to a growth plate — a soft spot at the end of the bone that helps bones grow. In little league shoulder, the growth plate that sits on the upper arm bone becomes inflamed or irritated.

The condition usually affects children ages 11 to 16.

Little League Shoulder Symptoms

Symptoms of little league shoulder include:

  • Shoulder pain when throwing
  • Soreness that lasts for a few days
  • Decreased ability to throw with usual accuracy or speed
  • Swelling or tenderness near the shoulder

Little League Shoulder Treatment

Treating little league shoulder will depend on your child’s age and severity of the injury. Common treatments can include:

  • Rest from throwing
  • Physical therapy
  • Vitamin therapy, which may include vitamin D and calcium

Children can resume throwing/activity after a period of no symptoms, as instructed by their pediatric orthopedist.

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