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Elbow Pain and Injury in Young Athletes

Kramer, Dennis E. MD

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics:
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e3181c9b889

Elbow pain and injury in young athletes include both acute traumatic and chronic overuse injuries. The anatomy of the developing pediatric elbow and the rapid growth of youth sports have led to an increase in chronic repetitive stress elbow injuries in the pediatric population. These injuries occur mostly in overhead athletes, throwers, and gymnasts. Force dissipation during throwing or axial loading results in lateral compression elbow injuries such as Panner's disease and osteochondritis dissecans of the capitellum or radial head. Medial distraction forces are responsible for medial injuries such as UCL failure, medial epicondyle apophysitis, and avulsion. Valgus extension overload causes posteromedial elbow impingement, olecranon apophysitis, and olecranon stress fractures. Conservative treatment modalities such as activity modification and physical therapy are successful in most cases, but early recognition is important as delays in diagnosis may prolong symptoms and necessitate operative intervention.

Author Information

Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA

None of the authors received financial support for this study.

Reprints: Dennis E. Kramer, MD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hunnewell 2, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.