What is Little League Shoulder?

Little league shoulder

is a growth plate injury that occurs in the upper arm in child athletes. The result of this injury is severe pain in the shoulder or the upper arm that can limit a child’s ability to throw. This injury, if treated on time can prolong a child’s career in sports, else the consequences can last the entire life which would eventually end a sports career mid-way.

Causes of Little League Shoulder:

Unlike adults, children have open growth plates that contain soft cartilage cells. These cartilage cells are easily vulnerable to injuries and this is the reason most children who are into sports that involve repetitive throwing 9like cricket and baseball) develop this problem.

Repeated throwing can inflame the growth plate causing severe pain. Sometimes, overly stressing the growth plate could also break it. Apart from baseball and cricket, children involved in other sports like tennis and volleyball are also known to develop this growth plate injury in the upper arm.

Signs and Symptoms:

The immediate sign of this problem would be severe pain in the upper arm region and the shoulder. Owing to this pain, a child may find that his/her ability to move the arm becomes restricted and the ability to throw is reduced.

  • The upper arm would also become tender to touch.
  • Even if one would try to pitch the ball, it will cause severe pain.
  • If a child continues to play with this growth plate problem, the problem would worsen and can cause bone growth abnormalities.


The above mentioned symptoms in a child athlete would easily tell a doctor what kind of an injury the child is suffering from. The first thing any doctor would advise a parent or coach is to rest the child until the growth plate heals completely.

Once normality is restored, physical therapy would be recommended by the doctor to strengthen the muscles and tendons in order to prevent a further injury.

Little league shoulder

problems in child athletes should be heeded seriously. Else a child’s career in sports could be short lived and also one would have to deal with chronic shoulder pain throughout the life.

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