Throwing Injuries In Children

children baseball throwing injury Little Leaguer Youth Pitcher Elbow

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

In baseball, especially at the beginning of the season, there is an increase in elbow problems amoung young players. The most common elbow problem is the medial apophysitis named « Little Leaguer or Youth Pitcher Elbow ».

The elbow joint is composed of 3 bones : upper arm bone (humerus) and 2 bones in the forearms (radius and ulna). Muscles, ligaments and tendons keep the elbow joints together.

Little Leaguer Elbow

little leaguer Youth Pitcher Elbow humerus ulna radius medial apophysis epicondyle

This injury occurs when repetitive throwing creates an extremely strong pull on the tendons and ligaments of the elbow. The pain felt to prominence inside the elbow.

« Pitcher’s elbow » can become serious if the case gets worse. Repeated pull can tear ligaments and tendons of the bones. The tear can take tiny pieces of bone like when a plant takes piece of the soil when it uprooted. This can destabilize bone growth, which can create a deformity.

Symptoms

« Pitcher’s elbow » can cause pain in the elbow. If any of these symptoms occur, it’s recommended to stop the throws :

  • Elbow pain
  • Decreased movement amplitude
  • Locking or snagging in the elbow joint

Treatment

Elbow injuries by lanching movements can become complicated cases, if they’aren’t treated.

Non-surgical treatment

Younger children respond better to non-surgical treatment :

  • Stop throwing because continuing to do this can create major complications and may reduce a child’s ability to remain active in a throwing sport.
  • Use an ice bag to decrease swelling
  • If the pain continues after a few days of complete rest in the affected area or if the pain reoccurs when the throwing starts, stop the activity again until the child is treated.
  • Improve the technique of launched

Surgical treatment

Surgery is sometimes necessary for serious injuries, mainly for girls older than 12 years old and boys older than 14 years old.

Depending on the child’s injury, surgery may includes bone fragment removal, bone grafting or reattaching a ligament back to the bone.

Recovery time

The recovery time depends on the age of the athlete and the severity of the injury. If the injury detected early and the modification of the activity begins, there will be little time required for the athlete to start the sport again.

However, if the athlete continues to play despite the pain and other symptoms, it will take several months to heal the injury. Or it’s possible that the injury becomes permanent.

Prevent

The recommendation for a child to be safe is 15 for 8-10 years old, 100 for 11-12 years old and 125 for 13-14 years old. This involves training and competitions. To avoid pitching injury, young pitchers should play 3-4 inning each game.

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-Steph

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Stress Fractures

stress. fractures, tibia, fibula

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

A stress fracture is an overuse injury. Human body creates a new bone to replace a bone that has been broken due to the stress of everyday life. This process is done every day to keep the balance. Unfortunately, this balance can be disrupted because of excessive physical training. There are several factors that can prevent the body from creating enough bone and this make microcracking, called « fracture stress ».

The most common factor of fracture stress is an excessive increase in the intensitiy or frequency of physical activity without adequate rest period. Other factors are nutritional deficiencies, mechanical influences, lack of sleep, systemic factors (hormonal imbalance, etc.) and metabolic bone disorders.

There are case of development of eating disorders and/or amenorrhea (infrequent menstrual periods) for some female athletes who are preparing for a competition. These 2 conditions can create a decrease in estrogen that can decrease bone mineral density. This increase the risk of stress fractures.

Stress fractures are often seen in athletes (especially runners) or military recruiting. For an athlete, 1.6km run is 110 tons of force absorbed by the legs. Bones aren’t made to resist this force (energy) so it’s the muscles that have the function of absorbing shocks.

When the muscles get tired, they stop absorbing the forces and eveything transferred to the bones. Stress fractures occur in almost all bones but are more common in lower bone, expecially the tibia. Depending on the type of sport, there’re distinctive stress fractures such as the elbow in throwing sports, the ribs in golfing and rowing, the spine in gymnastics, the lower extremity in running activities and the foot in gymnastics and bascketball.

Diagnosis

stress, fracture, foot, metatarsal, 5th
stress, fracture, foot, x-rays, metatarsal,2nd

Stress fractures create pain in a limited area directly above the tip of the bone where the fracture occurred. The pain is raw because of physical activity and relived with rest. The sensitivity of the bones is the most obvious conclusion to the physical examination.

With regard to X-rays, this isn’t a tool that actually helps to diagnose an early stress fracture because the bone often looks normal and the microcracking aren’t visible. It’s difficult because after several weeks of rest, the bone begins to repair itself and shows a healing reaction or callus on X-rays.

An early stress fracture is usually confirmed by a bone scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Treatment

Stress fractures are generally classified as low-risk (will not become a serious fracture) or high-risk (will become a serious fracture).

Low-risk stress fractures usually require a rest period of 1-6 weeks of limited weight bearing activity progressing to full weight bearing may be necessary. Return to physical activity should be a gratual process.

Low impact activities like swimming or biking are recommended to maintain cardiovascular condition when the pain is gone. When the patient can comfortably perform low impact activities for long, pain-free periods, the patient can begin high-impact activities.

High-risk stress fracture have the danger of becoming a complete fracture. For athletes suffering from chronic pain and having normal x-rays results, it’s recommanded to use a bone scan or MRI. High-risk stress fractures should be treated as traumatic fractures (with cast or surgery) because of complications.

Prevent

food, vitamin,d, carrot, papay, meat, ,egg, chees, broccoli, fish, sweet, potato, mango, pepperoni, apricot, peach, melon, avocado
calcium, food, almond, amarant, grain, aparagus, apricot, artichoke, baked, bean, haricot, blackberry, blackstrap, molasse, blackcurrant, bok, choy, brazil, nut, bread, wholemeal, brocolly, chickpeas, cinnamon, edamame, soya, fennel, kale, kidney, olive, orange, sesame, seed, milk, spring, green, tofu, swede, walnut, watercress

Here are tips developed by AAOS to help to prevent stress fractures :

  • When an athete does a new sport activity, it’s necessary to program progressive goals. For example on the 1st day, don’t run 8km but rather increase the distance gradually per week.
  • Cross-training => Alternate activities to achieve the same fitness goal helps to avoid stress fracture injuries. For example to achieve a cardiovascular goal, alternate cycling and running (cycling one day and riding the other day) is excellent. Adding strength training and doing flexibility exercises help improve performance.
  • Have and maintain a heathy diet with foods rich in calcium and vitamin D.
  • Use good equipment. Don’t use running shoes, gloves, etc, very old and very worn.
  • If during physical activity it start to swell or the pain starts, stop the activity right away. It’s essential to rest for a few days. If the pain continue, you should see an orthopedic surgeon.
  • It’s important to recognize early symptoms and treat them appropriately to return to the sport with a normal level of play.

Stats

  • Stress fractures occur less frequently in those of black African descent than in Caucasians, due to a generally higher BMD (bone mineral densitiy) in the former.
  • Women and highly active individuals are also at a higher risk, The incidence probably also increases with age due to age-related reductions in BMD.
  • Children may also be at risk because their bones have yet to reach full density and strength.
  • The female athlete triad also can put women at risk, as disordered eating and osteoporosis can cause the bones to be severely weakened.

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-Steph

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Meniscal Tears

meniscus

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Meniscus tear

meniscus tear

Meniscal tear is one of the most common knee injuries in athletes. This is caused after a contact injury or a traumatic twist. The meniscus is a wedge-shaped cartilage that provides a cushion in the medial and lateral portion of the knee joint and acts as a « shock absorber ». It’s located in the area of joints contact to prevent the bones rub between them because of the bodyweight. It’s hard and rubbery to help cushion the joints and keep the knees stable.

It’s important to also know that the meniscus helps to nourish the knee by facilitating the diffusion of joint fluid. With this injury, athletes can experience acute pain with a swelling and often a catching or locking sensation.

Diagnose

A meniscus injury can be diagnosed on the basis of the story that the patient provides and a physical examination of the knee.

An orthopedic surgeon my also use other techniques to further diagnose such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which gives a 3-dimensional image of the inside of the knee joint. In some cases, a surgeon can perform an arthroscopic inspection of the articulation, this is a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

Treatment

knee brace

A small meniscus tear can be treated with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. When a meniscus tear causes a significant loss of movement or catching, the appropriate treatment is often a surgical operation. Depending on the location and type of tear, the treatment may be a simple arthroscopy to remove the torn fragment. Depending on how quickly the inflammation disappears, athletes can return to a full activity after a week or months.

For athletes with a repairable tear, sutures are used to sew the meniscus. In this situation, the knee is braced for 6 weeks. These athletes take at least 3-6 months to back to their activities but maintain the full cushion in their knees.

Prevention

There is not really any way to prevent a meniscus tear apart from a conditioning program to try to prevent an acromioclavicular ligament (ACL) tear and knee instability.

Stats

Women have meniscus tears more often than men and at an earlier age. These tears are often associated with an acromioclavicular ligament injury (ACL)

There are some variables of meniscus tears can be repaired and despite repair, they aren’t always heal. But arthritis can be avoided in the majority of cases when repair is successful. One study shows that 60% of patients who undergo meniscectomy (partial elimination) had some degree of progressive arthritis.

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Articular Cartilage Injuries

articular cartilage injury

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interessted in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Definition

Articular cartilage is difficult to understand because there are 3 types of cartilages in the body : articular of hyaline cartilage (covers joint surfaces), fibrocartilage (knee meniscus, vertebral disk) and elastic cartilage (outer ear). These cartilage’s types differ in their structure, elasticity and strength.

Articular cartilage is a complex element, it’s a living tissue that is on the joint’s surface. The function is to provide a low friction surface to allow the joint to withstand weight loads through the range of motion needed to perform activity of daily living. To put it simply, articular cartilage is a very thin shock absorber. It’s built in 5 distinct layers and each layer has a structural and biochemical difference.

Injury

articular cartilage injury

Articular cartilage injury may be due to trauma or progressive degeneration (wear and tear). This can be mechanical destruction, a direct blow or other trauma. The healing of articular cartilage cells depends on the severity of the damage and the location of the lesion. Articular cartilage has no direct blood supply so it has very little ability to repair itself. It the lesion penetrates the bone under the cartilage, the bone provides blood in the area which improves the chances of healing.

Mechanical degeneration (wear and tear) of articular cartilage occurs with progressive loss of normal cartilage structure and function. This loss begins with the softening of the cartilage, then progresses to fragmentation. As the loss of articular cartilage lining continue, the underlying bone no longer has any protections against normal wear and tear of daily life and begins to get damaged leading to osteoarthritis.

In many cases, a patient experiences knee swelling and vague pain. At this stage, continuous physical activity isn’t possible. If a loose body is present, words such as « locking » or « catching » might be used to explain the problem. With wear and tear , the patient often experiences stiffness, decreased range of motion, joint pain and/or swelling.

Diagnostic

The physician examines the knee to look for a decrease in range of motion, pain along the joint line, swelling, fluid on the knee, abnormal alignment of the joint’s bones, and ligament or meniscal injury.

Cartilage lesions are difficult to diagnose and it’s possible that the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or arthroscopy may be necessary. Plain X- rays don’t usually diagnose articular cartilage problems but they used to rule out other abnormalities.

Treatment

articular cartilage injury treatment

 

Articular cartilage injury that doesn’t penetrate the bone doesn’t repair itself. A lesion that penetrates the bone can heal but the type of cartilage created is structurally unorganized and doesn’t work as well as the original cartilage.

Lesion less than 2 cm have the best prognosis and the best treatment options. These options are arthroscopic surgery using techniques to remove damaged cartilage and increase blood flow from the underlying bone (drilling, pick procedure or microfracture ).

For smaller lesion of articular cartilage surgery is not required.

For larger lesion, it’s necessary to transplant the articular cartilage from another area of the body. Talk to your doctor or specialist to have more information about the decision to have a surgical operation.

For patients with osteoarthritis, non-surgical treatment consists of physical therapy, lifestyle modification (for example reducing activity), bracing, supportive devices, oral and injection drugs (like non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, cartilage protective drugs) and medical management.

Surgical options depend on the severity of osteoarthritis and may provide a reduction in symptoms that are usually short-lived. Total osteoarthritis may relieve the symptom of advanced osteoarthritis but this usually requires a change in the lifestyle and/or level of activity of the patient.

Statistics

Based on published studies, the overall prevalence of articular cartilage injury in the knee is 36% among all athlete and 59% among asymptomatic basketball players and runners.

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Acromioclavicular Joint Injury

acromioclavicular joint injury

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Acromioclavicular joint is a joint between the clavicle and the scapula. Acromion is a continuation of the scapular spine and hooks over anteriorly. It articulate with the clavicle (collar bone ) to form the acromioclavicular joint.

Problems types

The most common problems are arthritis, fracture and separation. Arthritis is characterized by a loss of joint’s cartilage. Arthritis of acromioclavicular joint is common with weight lifter, especially with bench press and a little less with shoulder press. When there is a problem with the rotator cuff, it’s possible that there is also acromioclavicular joint’s arthritis.

Acromioclavicular separation

acromioclavicular joint injury type grade

When there is an acromioclavicular joint separation, it means that the ligament that connects the acromion and clavicle is damaged and that the 2 structures don’t align properly. Separation’s state can be weak or severe, that is why there is a system of « grade » according to which ligament is torn and the severity of the tear.

Grade I Injury – This is the weakest damage and the acromioclavicular joint is still aligned.

Grade II Injury – This is an average damage. Ligaments are only stretched but not fully torn. In case of stress (physical effort), the acromioclavicular joint becomes painful and unstable.

Grade III Inury – This is a serious damage. Ligaments are completely torn and the collar bone is no longer attached to the scapula, which creates a visible deformity.

Treatment of acromioclavicular joint arthritis

If the rest, ice, medications and change of the training program (changing the exercises) don’t work, the next step is a shot of cortisone. A shot of cortisone in the joint may have calmed the pain and may be permanently swollen. As each individual is unique, the effects may vary and it’s possible that it doesn’t swell permanently.

If non-surgical methods fail, it’s possible to perform a surgical operation. The pain is localized at the bones end that make contact with each other and the goal of the operation is to remove some of the end of the clavicle. This ambulatory surgery can be done with a small incision of 1 inch (2.5 cm) long or with the arthroscopy technique with 2-3 incisions. The results and recovery of these 2 surgical techniques are about the same. Most patients have a full movement by 6 weeks and can return to do sport by 12 weeks.

Treatment for acromioclavicular separation

Separation can create very painful injuries, so the first thing to do is to decrease the pain. Hold the arm in a sling, put ice and pack the shoulder for 20-30 minutes every 2 hours as needed. Acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can also help calm the pain.

When the pain begins to subside, it’s important to move the fingers, wrists and elbow (and eventually the shoulders) in order to avoid having stiff or « frozen » shoulder. The length of time needed to regain complete movement and function depends on the severity or injury’s grade.

Recovery from Grade I acromioclavicular separation usually takes 10-14 days while Grade III takes 6-8 weeks.

When surgery

Grade I and II separations require very rarely surgery. With a Grade III injury, after surgery, it’s possible to have full body physical activity with some restrictions.

Statistics

  • More males than females suffer acromioclavicular joint injuries

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Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

anterior cruciate ligament injury tear

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Knee is the largest and most complex joint of the body. There are 4 primary ligaments (with their muscles and tendons) and secondary ligaments for the knee to function properly. Here are the ligaments of the knee : there are 2 ligaments on the side the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and two crossed ligaments in the center of the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).

Anterior cruciate ligament connects the front top part of the shine bone to the back bottom part of the thigh bone and keeps the shin bone from sliding forward.

anterior cruciate ligament

Injury

anterior cruciate ligament injury tear

There are several ways to have an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament :

  • The injury can be done because of a direct hit on the knee, which often happens in team sport.

  • The injury can be done without contact with an object in a situation where the knee forced to be in a abnormal position, which causes a tear in one or more ligaments of the knee. Or when an athlete in the race change direction. Or when an athlete make a hyperextend of the knee when landing a jump, which often happends in agility sports.

Diagnostic

In the majority of cases, the doctor is able to identify what is the injured ligament. But the knee can also be injured at the joint on the surface and in this situation, it’s more difficult to diagnose because of knee swelling. To make an accurate diagnosis, it will be necessary to use a MRI scan or arthroscopy.

Prevent

There are several fast, powerful movements that lengthen (eccentric phase) and shorten (concentric phase) a muscle. These prevention programs are for injuries without contact. These exercises are to improve the nerves/muscle control of the knee. These prevention programs use plymetrics, balance and strength/stability exercises.

Plymetrics

It’s a fast, powerful movement that lengthens (eccentric phase) and shortens (concentric phase) a muscle. The concentric phase increases the muscle power. Here is an example, an athlete who jumps from a box and immediately jumps into the air after touching the floor.

Balance

Balance exercices are done with the wobble or balance board. It’s also possible to perfom exercices by throwing a ball with a partner while balancing on one leg.

Strength/stability

To improve single-leg core strength and stability, there are excellent exercices such as jumping and landing on one leg with the knee flexed and momentarily maintaining this position.

Surgical treatment

In the past, there was a technique that consisted of stitching the ligament together but it was rarely successful. Currently, the technique involves reconstructing the anterior cruciate ligament by building a new ligament from tissue taken from one of the other tendons around the knee or from on organ donation. This tissue passed through drill holes in the thigh bone and the shin bone, and then ancored in place to create a new anterior cruciate ligament. Over time, this transplant becomes mature and becomes a new living ligament in your knee.

Recovery

recovery

Rheabilitation of the knee after the reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament requires time and work. To have a complete function, this can last between 6 weeks and 6 months depending on the severity and level of activity. Rehabilitation rate may take time depending on the specific requirements of the sport/physical activity of the individual.

The overall success rate of the anterior cruciate ligament surgery is very good. A lot of study show that more than 90% of patients are able to return to sport without symptoms of knee instability. It’s true that some patients complain of stiffness and pain after surgery, that is why it’s necessary to make an aggressive rehabilitation until the new surgical technique to reduce these problems.

Statistics

  • One of the most commonly injured ligament in the knee

  • Female athletes participating in basketball and soccer are 2-8 times more likely to suffer anterior cruciate ligament injury.

  • Athlete who suffer anterior cruciate ligament injury at increased risk of arthritis development later in life.

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-Steph

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