Radiating Hope: Radiology Department Blog


What Is Little League Shoulder?

What Is Little League Shoulder?

With the arrival of spring comes baseball. (Go Reds!) And if you have a tiny Bronson Arroyo in your home, you know that with the baseball season comes some potential injuries that could land your heat-throwing All-Star on the dreaded “DL” (Disabled List).

Young baseball players are prone to elbow and shoulder overuse injuries, especially pitchers. Little League Shoulder, most commonly seen in adolescent pitchers, is a stress injury of the growth plate of the upper arm bone (humerus). The growth plate is prone to this injury due to the accelerated growth at the proximal humeral growth plate. The diagnosis may be made on the basis of clinical findings with X-rays or, on some particular occasions, an MRI.

Little League Shoulder is believed to be the result of repetitive overhead throwing without proper rest, pitching with improper mechanics, throwing breaking pitches and lack of muscle strength in the back and shoulders. USA Baseball and Little League Baseball have published pitch count guidelines according to age for reduced risk of arm injuries. You can also help reduce injury risk by making sure your little champ is using proper mechanics, resting when needed and healthfully increasing strength. Be sure to talk to your physician about any pain or discomfort your child may be feeling.

Now, play ball!

Contributed by Dr. Christopher Anton and edited by Sparkle Torruella, COORD-REG AFF ).

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About the author: Alex Towbin

Alex is a radiologist and the Neil D. Johnson Chair of Radiology Informatics. In this role, he helps to manage the information systems used by the Radiology department. Clinically, Alex is the Assistant Director of thoracoabdominal imaging. His research interests include liver disease, liver tumors, inflammatory bowel disease, and appendicitis.