The Pediatric Overhead Athlete: What is the Real Problem?

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Objective:The purposes of this article are to examine shoulder and elbow injuries in pediatric athletes, to evaluate the pathophysiology and pathomechanics that may be associated with the pathoanatomy, and to present suggestions for the prevention of those injuries.Data Sources:This article will review the published sports medicine literature on these topics in baseball and tennis injuries and present a kinetic chain-based perspective on the possible causative factors that are present in the young thrower.Results:The published literature shows that there are multiple intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to the risk of injury in young throwing athletes. These factors appear to develop over time; if not recognized or addressed early, they have undesirable outcomes.Conclusions:A multitude of factors, including anatomical, biomechanical, and environmental concerns, can contribute to the dysfunction of the shoulder and elbow in young overhead athletes. Understanding the force-generating and load-absorbing processes of the body will help clinicians, coaches, and others prevent or limit the deleterious effects of such occurrences.

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