Overuse Injuries in Little League Baseball

On April 20, 2009 by Full Motion Physical Therapy

Baseball is a very popular youth sport in Orange County.  Younger baseball players (ages 6-14) are at an increased risk to throwing injuries secondary to their physical immaturity.  The arm’s anatomy predisposes it to increased risk of injury due to the greater laxity around the elbow joint and the instability of the shoulder during the throwing motion.

There are many different mechanisms for young pitchers to become injured; pitching while fatigued, overuse, excessive wrist supination when using breaking pitches and improper mechanics.  Recent studies reveal throwing 75-99 pitches per game show a 35% increased risk of elbow pain and a 52% increased shoulder pain.  The Medical and Safety Advisory Committee has established maximum pitch counts.  Pitchers should throw no more than two times a week.

  • 8-10 years old should throw up to 52 (+ or – 15) pitches per game
  • 11-12 years old should throw up to 68 (+ or – 18) pitches per game
  • 13-14 years old should throw up to 76 (+ or – 16) pitches per game

To further help prevent injuries in young pitches, coaches and parents need to be proactive.  First, rest is very important.   Studies reveal fatigue and overuse are the number one reason why injuries occur in the shoulder and elbow.  Secondly, teach proper pitching fundamentals, follow low pitch count guidelines, and use preventative measures such as ice.

Following these simple guidelines will help prevent arm injuries and allow children to have fun playing baseball.

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