Watch for Overuse Injuries in Youth Baseball
With youth and high school baseball and softball in full swing, so are young ball players’ arms – often repetitively.
According to Dr. Jeff Fox, orthopedic surgeon at Central States Orthopedics, this could spell trouble for shoulders and elbows that are still developing.
“One of the biggest risks of injury we see in youth baseball comes from overuse,” said Dr. Fox.
A father of ball players himself, Dr. Fox said today’s guidelines for pitch counts and pitch type by age can reduce the risk of injury for young athletes. Still, he said, the biggest focus should be “listening to your arm.”
“Pain, swelling and loss of velocity are predictors for injury,” he said.
Dr. Fox said adolescents cannot handle the same wear and tear from repetitive motions as adults. Special consideration must be given to growth plates on the bones associated with “Little League Shoulder” and “Little League Elbow.”
“Overuse can cause a shearing effect at the growth plate, which causes the pain,” he explained.