• Little Leaguer's Elbow


    Little leaguer's elbow is inflammation of the growth plate of the inner elbow. The medial epicondylar growth plate of the elbow becomes inflamed due to repetitive injury from muscular contraction. The muscles that bend the wrist attach to the medial epicondyle. The growth plate is an area of relative weakness, and injury to it occurs due to repeated stress or vigorous exercise. It is a temporary condition of the medial epicondyle that is uncommon after age 16.

    Common signs and symptoms

    Notify a physician if you have had these symptoms for an extended period of time or they continue to worsen.

    • Slightly swollen, warm, and tender bump of the inner elbow
    • Pain with activity, especially bending the wrist against force (curls, lifting, throwing) or following an extended period of vigorous exercise in an adolescent
    • In more severe cases, pain during less vigorous activity
    • Inability to throw at full speed
    • Inability to fully straighten the elbow


    Initial treatment consists of ice every two to three hours for 20 minutes for the first 72 hours to relieve pain, stretching and strengthening exercises (particularly the muscles that bend the wrist), and modification of activities. Specifically, throwing and heavy lifting should be avoided. The exercises can all be carried out at home for acute cases. Chronic cases often require a referral to a physical therapist or athletic trainer for further evaluation or treatment. Occasionally the affected elbow may need to be immobilized for a few weeks (brace, cast, or splint)

    A counterforce brace (tennis elbow brace) may help relieve symptoms. Surgery is rarely needed (if conservative treatment fails) in the growing patient; however, surgery is necessary if the growth plate separates completely and moves away from where it should be.

    More on elbow pain and problems