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Teenage PartiesWhat you don't know can hurt you. Tips for parents of hosts and guests. Plus, ideas for a successful bash.En español
Life's Difficult ChangesSymptoms of transitional difficulty in parents and kids and advice for dealing with change.En español
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Childhood ChoresWhy household chores are important for kids and teens.En español
Healthful LeisureA little leisure might be just what your family needs. Why leisure time is important and how to add more to your life.En español
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Every year when spring sports season rolls around, doctors see an increase in certain sports-related injuries in young athletes.
"Young athletes are skeletally immature," says Peter Kriz, MD, a sports medicine physician at The Center For Sports Medicine."Their growth plates have not yet closed. This unique quality makes them susceptible to a variety of elbow injuries that are not encountered in older throwing athletes."
Among the elbow injuries potentially seen in school-age and adolescent throwers:
The Center For Sports Medicine is collaborating with Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Rehabilitation Services to provide dedicated throwing programs for young athletes recovering from throwing-related injuries. The programs focus on improving throwing mechanics, flexibility, core strength, while teaching how the entire kinetic chain - from the toes to the fingertips and transmits energy from the lower body to the upper body (including arm, hand, and fingers), and eventually to the ball.
In an era of year-round single sport participation, multi-league seasons and showcases for the adolescent athlete, the sheer volume of throwing the developing athlete may perform is staggering. Strong evidence suggests that programs which limit pitch counts among young throwers are effective in reducing overuse syndromes. The table below provides a program endorsed by USA Baseball's Medical and Safety Advisory Committee; it also addresses commonly-asked questions by parents of young throwers.
Medial epicondylar apophysitis, commonly referred to as Little League Elbow (LLE), is a condition that frequently presents in young throwers, usually 9 to 14 years old.
LLE is often encountered in pitchers. Many athletes suffering from LLE typically pitch in addition to playing shortstop or other infield positions such as catcher or third base. This injury results from repetitive stresses on the medial epicondyle (inner elbow) encountered with throwing activities. Ultimately, the weak link - the growth plate - becomes inflamed, resulting in a spectrum of injuries, ranging from irritation to stress fracture and separation of the medial epicondyle from the rest of the upper arm. X-rays may demonstrate a subtle widening of the growth plate.
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Medial epicondyle avulsion fractures are seen in children and adolescent throwers. These injuries occur suddenly. X-rays typically reveal the fracture and subtle widening of the growth plate.
Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the capitellum, a bone and cartilage-containing part of the developing elbow, is a cause of lateral (outside) elbow pain in throwing athletes typically between 11 and 16 years old. This injury results from repetitive forces to the radiocapitellar joint during certain phases of throwing. These forces are believed to affect the blood supply to the capitellum.