Top-Notch Care for Youth Athletes with Little Leaguer’s Shoulder
Our goal at University Hospitals is to help youth athletes with little leaguer’s shoulder heal properly so they can return to the sport they love. If your child is having issues with shoulder pain or decreased shoulder movement, our shoulder physical therapy and advanced rehabilitation program will ensure their shoulder completely heals before they get back to the field.
Little leaguer’s shoulder, also called proximal humeral epiphysitis, is common in youth baseball, softball or tennis players who perform overhand activities. Overhead movement can cause the muscles in a child’s arm to pull on the shoulder growth plates, the areas of developing cartilage where bone growth occurs. The widening of the growth plates in the elbow or shoulder often leads to little leaguer’s shoulder.
Our team of board-certified and fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians work closely with the teams of pediatric specialists at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s to make sure your child’s sports injuries are addressed with both short-term athletic success and long-term growth success. Because we are a high-volume center for orthopedic care, we have the experience and expertise needed for any athletic injury, for any age athlete.
Advanced Little League Shoulder Rehab Programs
Since little leaguer’s shoulder issues can worsen, cause bone damage and close growth plates, it should be treated as soon as it’s diagnosed. Fortunately, this condition can completely heal with our advanced shoulder therapy and rehabilitation program.
If your child has little leaguer’s shoulder, the rehabilitation program we prescribe will likely include rest from pitching or throwing for several weeks, icing the shoulder a few times each day and sports medicine physical therapy including little league shoulder exercises that focus on strengthening their shoulder and arm muscles. While minor cases of little leaguer’s shoulder will heal in three months with rehabilitation, more severe injuries may take longer.
An Emphasis on Education and Prevention Techniques
As a parent of a young athlete, you can encourage your child to take certain steps to prevent little leaguer’s shoulder. Make sure they always warm up before playing and restrict the number of curveballs or sliders they throw.
If your child is between 9 and 12, they should pitch no more than 6 innings a week and throw a maximum of 250 pitches. Children between 13 and 15 should pitch no more than 9 innings a week and throw a maximum of 350 pitches.
Reach out to your child’s coach and ask if they can provide your child with instruction on how to properly throw a baseball. Encouraging a shorter playing season can be beneficial as well.