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Pediatric Shoulder Anatomy


The upper arm bone is called the humerus.  It forms the shoulder joint at the upper end and elbows joint at the lower end. In children, the bone continues from a region called the growth plate, which is found at the ends of the bone.  This is a region of cartilage cells, which are still soft.  In time, they mature and harden to form the adult bone. 

What is Little League Shoulder?

Little league shoulder is an injury to the growth plate of the upper arm bone at the shoulder joint of children.  It is an overuse injury caused by repeated pitching or throwing, especially in children between the ages of 10 to 15 years.  This condition is mostly seen in baseball pitchers, but children in other sports who use improper throwing action are also at risk. 

Symptoms of Little League Shoulder

The symptoms associated with this condition include:

  • Pain in the shoulder while playing
  • Swelling of the shoulder joint
  • Reduced speed and control while throwing
  • Difficulty in lifting the arm

Diagnosis of Little League Shoulder

Little league shoulder is diagnosed with a review of your child’s symptoms, medical history and a physical examination of the shoulder.  Dr. Southard may also suggest a shoulder X-ray to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate your child’s growth plates.

Treatment of Little League Shoulder

Little league shoulder is best treated by RESTING the shoulder until the injury heals.  Dr. Southard may include some gentle activities/therapy during the course of recovery, however the ball gets put DOWN..!  Young athletes require recovery even more so than their professional and collegiate counterparts.  Failure to do so may ultimately prevent them from reaching their potential. 

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons
  • Orthopaedic Trauma Association
  • Weill Cornell Medicine
  • AANA Advancing the Scope