, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 83-87,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 14 Mar 2009

Elbow pain in pediatrics

Abstract

The pediatric and adolescent elbow is subject to both acute and chronic overuse injuries. The practitioner should develop a classification system to evaluate all such injuries, with first focusing on whether the injury represents an acute episode or rather it represents a more chronic problem. In addition, localizing the area of pain as being either medial, lateral, or posterior can better help differentiate the diagnosis. Youth baseball pitchers and throwers are particularly at risk for overuse injuries of the elbow, most of which are related to an injury mechanism termed “valgus extension overload”. The most common entity related to this is termed “Little Leaguer’s Elbow.” Treatment is usually conservative, but for some injuries surgery may be required, especially for displaced medial epicondylar avulsion fractures. Other acute injuries also should be easily recognizable by the general clinician including annular ligament displacement (nursemaid’s elbow) which represents one of the most common upper extremity injuries presenting to emergency rooms in youngsters under the age of 6. Most studies seem to indicate a hyperpronation reduction technique may be more successful then the flexion/supination technique. It is also important to have an awareness of some of the common elbow fractures seen in the younger patient, in particularly supracondylar fractures owing to their high propensity for complications. When evaluating the elbow for fractures, it is necessary to have an understanding of the appearance of the ossification centers seen on the pediatric elbow.