Pitcher’s elbow, also known as little league syndrome, is an overuse injury caused by repetitive throwing motions. It is most common among baseball pitchers, hence the name. If you have this condition, you already know that it can be painful and limit your arm’s mobility.
Let’s go over the treatment options available for pitcher’s elbow.
What Causes Pitcher’s Elbow?
Pitcher’s elbow occurs as a result of repetitive throwing activities that exert undue tension on the elbow’s tendons and ligaments. Repeated forceful throwing actions can stretch, tear, or pull the ligaments and tendons away from the bone. These motions can also cause bone damage.
Children between the ages of eight and fifteen are more likely to develop pitcher’s elbow because they are still growing. Their growth plates, which are the sites of new bone growth, are weaker and more prone to damage. Untreated, a broken growth plate that does not heal properly can result in deformities and continued limited mobility.
Treatment Options for Pitcher’s Elbow
There are several ways to treat pitcher’s elbow, each depending on the severity of the pain. Here are some of the most common treatments:
Rest is the primary treatment option for most elbow pain caused by throwing, as it allows the elbow to recuperate from inflammation and injury. Ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications are two conservative treatment choices that your doctor may recommend while you rest.
While resting after sustaining an elbow injury, apply ice to reduce inflammation. This can be done four times a day for 15–20 minutes at a time. You can use a thin towel to wrap the ice or an ice pack for application.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
In severe cases of pitcher’s elbow, there may also be an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury. The UCL is a strong band of tissues, serving as the tether for your upper arm and forearm bones.
An injection of PRP may be suggested for patients with partial tears of the UCL. It involves stimulating healing with the patient’s platelets. In this procedure, a modest amount of blood is collected from the patient. Platelets are then isolated from the blood using a centrifuge and injected into the target area.
If you or your child is an athlete, repetitive throwing with poor mechanics might lead to a resurgence of pain even after treatment. A sports medicine expert can spot throwing motion irregularities. They can provide recommendations to improve technique and performance through simulation and video analysis.
A physical therapist can create an individualized treatment plan to help restore and increase your mobility and motion, alleviating pain. Physical therapy can aid in both prevention and rehabilitation of the affected elbow.
Patients can learn from a physical therapist about stretching and strengthening exercises. The exercises recommended will be tailored to each patient’s personal needs. Physical therapy can also assist in regaining range of motion and flexibility.
When conservative treatments don’t work, an orthopedic doctor may suggest surgery. An operation can be done to reattach ligaments, remove loose bone pieces, or perform bone grafting.
The surgeon can use arthroscopy to diagnose and treat the issues surrounding pitcher’s elbow. It involves making a small incision in the affected area to allow a narrow tube with a camera to enter. The orthopedic surgeon may use an array of specialized instruments to perform other minimally invasive surgeries during this procedure.
Compared to open surgery, minimally invasive surgery is associated with minor discomfort, shorter recovery times, and fewer complications. After surgery, a surgeon will usually suggest physical therapy to aid in the recovery and bring back mobility, strength, and function.
Pitcher’s Elbow Treatment in Ellicott City, MD
Repetitive throwing motions can cause pitchers’ elbow, a condition frequent among younger athletes. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment choices, both conservative and surgical.
If you or your child are suffering from an elbow injury such as a pitcher’s elbow, Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland can assist you with all your medical needs. Our team of healthcare providers, which includes orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine experts, and physical therapists, specializes in addressing many orthopedic conditions. We offer conservative and surgical treatments for numerous orthopedic injuries and related diseases.
We have many locations in Maryland, including Ellicott City, Catonsville, Columbia, Eldersburg, Fulton, and Jessup. To know more about each clinic and the services they offer, check out the “Our Locations” page.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (410) 644-1880 or toll-free at (855) 4MD-BONE. You can also use our convenient Klara widget, the message icon at the bottom of our web page, to request an appointment. We look forward to providing you with care to keep your body in motion!