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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SLAP Tears

slap tear anatomy shoulder

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.

SLAP is an acronym for superior labrum anterior to posterior. The labrum is a rim of tissue that adds depth to the bony socket of the shoulder. The superior or « top » portion or the labrum is important and frequently injured because the biceps attaches to this region.

How

SLAP tears happens because of physical activity with repetitive overhead movements or physical shock. Tears created because of overhead movements are common among athletes as basball pitchers or tennis players. Tears created due to physical shocks are often a fall on a hand stretched with the arm over the head or fall directly on the shoulder.

Diagnosis

slap tear anatomy shoulder

SLAP tears are very difficult to diagnose only with a physical exam because of different shoulder problems. Using a MRI with or without contrast helps a lot.

Treatment

The first step is to do a nonsurgical treatment. While the SLAP tear likely will not heal, a study confirmed that many have improvement of symptoms and function. If nonsurgical treatment (such as physical therapy) isn’t successful, surgery is being considered.

Surgery is usually done arthroscopically and involves reattaching the torn labrum to the top of the cavity. Generally, bone anchors loaded with sutures are inserted into the top of the cavity. The sutures are passed through the torn area of the labrum. The sutures are tied, which brings the torn labrum to the bone.

Prevention

Although it’s difficult to avoir acute SLAP tears, it’s possible to prevent chronic tears, especially with athletes who make overhead movements, maintaining balance in the shoulder.

Exercices that strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blades and exercises that stretch posterior shoulders are recommended to reduce the risk of SLAP chronic tears.

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-Steph

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Shoulder Instability Or Dislocations

shoulder instability anatomy

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.

Shoulder is the most mobile joint of the body. This allows you to lift your arm, rotate your arm and lift your arm over your head. It’s possible to have a greater range of motion with less stability.

How

Shoulder instability

This happens when the humerus head (the upper arm bone) is forced out of the shoulder’s cavity. Usually this happens as a result of a sudden traumatic injury.

Once the shoulder is dislocated, the shoulder is vulnerable to repeat. When the shoulder is loose and slips several times, it’s called a chronic shoulder instability.

The shoulder is made of 3 bones : humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone).

Dislocation shoulder

shoulder dislocation anatomy

This may be partial, which means that the arm’s ball partially comes out from the cavity. This is called a subluxation. This can be complete which means that the arm’s ball comes out completely from the cavity.

Symptoms

Symptoms of chronic shoulder instability are :

  • Pain caused by the shoulder injury

  • Repeated shoulder’s dislocation

  • Repeated instance of the shoulder giving out

  • A persistent sensation of the shoulder that is loose, slipping out of the joint or hanging.

Diagnosis

Specific tests help assess shoulder instability (including general relaxation of ligaments). A doctor may prescribe imaging tests such as X-rays, CT Scan or MRI to confirm the diagnosis and identify other problems.

Treatment

First, chronic shoulder instability treated with nonsurgical options. If these options don’t relieve pain and instability, surgery may be needed.

Nonsurgical treatment

shoulder dislocation treatment non surgical

Generally, it often takes several months of nonsurgical treatment before success can be assessed. Nonsurgical treatments includes :

  • Activity modification

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication

  • Physical therapy

Surgical treatment

shoulder dislocation treatment surgery bankart repair

Often, surgery is often required to repair torn or stretched ligaments so that they can maintain the shoulder joint in place.

Bankart lesions (tearing of the front labrum from the cavity) can be repaired surgically using suture anchors to reattach the ligaments to the bone.

Arthroscopy => Soft tissues of the shoulder can be repaired using tiny instruments and small incisions. It’s a procedure that is done the same day or outpatient. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon examines the inside of the shoulder with a small camera and performs the operation with special instruments.

Open surgery => These are patients who require open surgical intervention. This involves making a wider incision on the shoulder and performing the repair under direct visualization.

Rehabilitation

After surgery, the shoulder can be temporarily immobilized with a sling. When the sling is removed, it’s essential to do ligament rehabilitation exercises. These exercises improve the range of motion of the shoulder and avoid scarring during ligament healing. Thereafter, exercises for strengthening the shoulder will be added in the rehabilitation program.

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-Steph

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Shoulder Impingement

shoulder impingement

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.

Impingement is the fact of having mechanical compression and/or tendon wear of the rotator cuff. Rotator cuff is composed of a serie of 4 muscles connected to the shoulder blade at the humeral head (upper part of the shoulder joint). The function of the rotator cuff is to maintain the humeral head within the glenoid (socket) during normal shoulder function and to participate in shoulder strength during activity. Normally, the rotator cuff glides gently between the inferior surface of the acromion, the bone at the point of the shoulder and the humeral head.

Causes

Any process that can interfere with rotator cuff being able to glide normally can cause impingement. The causes are :

  • Weakening

  • Degeneration of the tendon due to aging

  • Formation of the bone spurs

  • Inflammation of tissues on the space above the rotator cuff

  • Injury due to overuse

Overuse activities that can lead to impingement are most commonly seen in tennis players, pitchers and swimmers.

Diagnosis

shoulder impingement

Diagnosis can be made with the patient’s history and physical examination. Patients suffering impingement often complain of pain in the shoulder. This pain worsens with overhead activity and can be so strong that it causes an awakening during the night. Manipulation of the shoulder in a specific way by a doctor will usually reproduce the symptoms and confirm the diagnosis. X-rays are also useful for the evaluation of the presence of bone spurs and/or the narrowing of the subacromial space.

Treatment

The first thing to do is to eliminate identifiable causes or factor that contribute to the pain. This means temporarily avoiding activities like tennis, pitching or swimming. A non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication may also be recommended by your doctor. The treatment is based on exercises aimed at restoring flexibility and normal strength to the shoulder girdle, especially by strengthening the muscles of the rotator cuff and the muscles responsible for the normal movements of the scapula (shoulder blade). This program may be performed by a doctor, a certified athletic trainer or a qualified physiotherapist. Sometimes a cortisone injection may be helpful in the treatment.

Surgery

Surgery isn’t necessary in most case of shoulder impingement. But if the symptoms persist despite non-surgical treatment, surgical intervention may be beneficial. Surgery involves deriding or surgically removing, tissue that is irritating the rotator cuff. This can be done with open or arthroscopic technique. The result is favorable in about 90% of cases.

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-Steph

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Rotator Cuff Tears

rotator cuff tear anatomy shoulder

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.

Rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles and their tendons that together form a « cuff » around the head of the humerus (upper end of the arm). The 4 muscle, originate from the scapula (shoulder blade), are upraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. Tendons of each muscle fit on the humerus tuberosity.

Rotator cuff’s functions :

  • Lift the arm

  • Turn the arm

  • Stabilize the humerus in the joint

Causes

rotator cuff tear anatomy

The causes of a rotator cuff tear can be an acute injury such as a fall or because of chronic wear with tendon degeneration. For people over 40 years old, the pinching of the tendon on the underside of the scapula may participate in tearing.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of rotator cuff tears is based on an examination and/or diagnosis study such as a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to confirm the diagnosis. Diagnosis early on in the first symptoms and rotator cuff’s treatment can help to boost the treatment’s results.

Treatment

Goals treatment are to relieve pain and restore strength to the injured shoulder. Several tears in rotator cuff can be treated without surgery. Anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections and physical therapy can all be beneficial in treating the symptoms of a tear in the cuff.

Even though a full-thickness tear needs to be cured with surgery, it’s possible to use non-surgical treatments to have a satisfactory function in some cases.

Surgery

rotator cuff tear anatomy surgery

Surgery is recommended if there is persistent pain or shoulder weakness that doesn’t improve with non-surgical treatment. Often patients who have surgery indicate nocturnal pain and difficulty using the arm for lifting and reaching. Many will indicate persistent symptoms despite several months of treatment and limited use of the arm.

Surgery is also recommended for active people who use the arm for overhead work or sports.

Surgical options

The type of repair performed is based on the findings at surgery. A partial tear my necessarily only a trimming or smoothing procedure called a debridment. A full-thickness tear with the tendon torn from its insertion on the humerus is repaired directly on the bone.

3 techniques are used for rotator cuff repair :

  • Open repair (through a traditional incision)

  • Mini-open repair (partially assisted by a camera view, with a smaller incision)

  • Arthroscopic (performed with only a small camera inserted through multiple small puncture wounds)

Recovery and rehabilitation process

Whether for the treatment of non-surgical and surgical rotator cuff tear, rehabilitation has a very important role. Usually recovery is at least 6 months or more depending on the extent of the tear.

When there is a tear, there is frequently a loss of shoulder movement. An exercise or physical therapy program is needed to restore strength and improve shoulder function.

Although surgery repairs the defect of the tendon, the muscles around the arm remain weak and an important effort is necessary in the rehabilitation so that the procedure is a success. After surgery, a complete re-education can last several months.

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-Steph

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Overuse Injuries

overuse injuries sport 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.

There are 2 types of injuries : Acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries are usually caused by a single traumatic event. Here are some examples :

  • Wrist fractures

  • Ankle sprains

  • Shoulder dislocations

Acute injuries are less common in sport than overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are usually subtle and appear over time, making them difficult to diagnose and treat. Here is some example :

  • Tennis elbows

  • Swimmer’s shoulder

  • Pitcher’s elbow

  • Runner’s knee

  • Achilles tendinitis

  • Shin splints

Why

Human body is extraordinary to adapt to physical stress. We’re used of thinking that « stress » is bad for our emotional well-being, but physical stress is simply doing an exercise or activity. This is beneficial for our muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. This physical stress causes an internal process called remodeling. Remodeling process involves both the breakdown and the build up of tissue. It’s necessary to have a good balance between 2, if breakdown occurs more rapidly than buildup, an overuse injury occurs.

Causes

overuse injuries sport injury gym fail

Usually, it’s training errors that cause overuse injuries. These errors are too fast acceleration of intensity or duration or activity frequency. These injuries can also happen to people who return to the sport/activity after an injury. They try to make up for lost time as quickly as possible to reach the level they had before the injury. Doing an exercise with a good technique is important to avoid overuse injuries. When the exercise’s technique is bad, it creates overuse injuries. It’s for this reason that coaches, athletic trainers and teachers can play a preventive role so that athletes avoid overuse injures.

There are people who more easily have overuse injuries. An unbalance between strength and flexibility around certain joints predisposes some people to have this type of injury. Body alignment, such as knock-knees, bowlegs, unequal leg lengths and flat or high arched feet, also impact overuse injuries. There are also people who have weak links because of old wounds, incomplete rehabilitation of wounds or others anatomy factors.

Other factors must also be taken into account as equipment such as the type of running shoe or ballet shoe and terrain (hard versus soft surface in aerobic dance or running).

Diagnosis

Generally the diagnosis is based on the athlete’s history and physical examination. It’s recommended to make a diagnosis with a sports medicine specialist with a specific interest and knowledge of your sport. In some situations X-rays, bone scan and MRI may be necessary.

Treatment

overuse injuries sport injury ice

Here are some recommendations for treating an overuse injuries :

  • Cutting back the intensity, duration and frequency of an activity

  • Adopting a hard/easy workout schedule and crosstraining with other activities to maintain fitness levels

  • Learning about proper training and technique from a coach or athletic trainer

  • Performing proper warm-up activities before and cool down after

  • Using ice after an activity for minor aches and pain

  • Using anti-inflammatory medications as necessary

If symptoms persist, a sport medicine specialist may create a more detailed treatment plan for your specific condition. This may involve an exam of your training program and an evaluation of predisposing factors.

Prevention

Majority of overuse injuries can be avoided with a proper training program, common sense and learning to listen your own body. The quote : « No pain, no gain » doesn’t apply here. The 10% rule helps a lot to get things to the next level.

In general, you should increase the training’s intensity to a maximum of 10% per week. This allows your body to have enough time for recovery and response. This rule should be used to increase pace or milestone for walkers or runners. Or for the weights amount to increase for strength training programs. In strength training, add flexibility exercises and core stability exercises help tremendously to minimize overuse injuries.

It’s recommended to seek advice from sports medicine specialist or athletic trainer to prevent chronic or recurring problems. Your training program can also be modified to maintain fitness levels safety while you recover from your injuries. You must return to the sport only if an authorization is granted by a health professional.

Remember, it’s very important to warm-up before training and cool down after training.

Stats

3.5 millions of children are treated for overuse injures every year.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food. Click here .