THIS POST IS PART OF THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HAND, WRIST AND ELBOW INJURIES
At an early age, 10-year-old Kyle Piersall showed a passion for playing baseball. However, he and his parents never imagined an injury would affect him at such a young age.
Kyle’s mother, Stacy, was aware that pitchers need to take great care of their pitching arm and did everything she could to prevent Kyle from being injured. “Before our son started competitive baseball, my husband and I researched and talked to other parents to ensure we did all we could to prevent an injury and encourage safe pitching,” said Stacy.
Although Kyle’s family did their best to prevent an injury, it wasn’t enough. Kyle was pitching during a game when he felt his elbow pop. His parents knew it was serious when he couldn’t even move his elbow without being in excruciating pain.
Kyle attempted to work through the pain but he couldn’t complete even simple daily tasks. He wasn’t able to enjoy activities with his friends at school and the pain became too much to bear. A friend of Kyle’s family suggested that he visit OrthoIndy to have his elbow treated.
Journey to treatment
Stacy took Kyle to OrthoIndy Urgent Care South where he was referred to see orthopedic pediatric physician, Dr. Kosmas Kayes. Dr. Kayes determined he had medial apophysitis also known as little leaguer’s elbow.
Dr. Kayes decided that surgery would not be required and recommended he see occupational therapist, Chris Lebouef, who specializes in hand, wrist and elbow injuries at OrthoIndy Physical Therapy.
Chris worked with Kyle for a little over two weeks addressing strength and range of motion deficits in his elbow. When his elbow pain was under control, she noticed the way he held his shoulder was not natural.
Chris suggested that Kyle may need extended physical therapy for shoulder and core strengthening before he could return to baseball.
Stacy was pleased with the care right from the start. “The experience was personalized, caring and focused on Kyle’s wellbeing,” said Stacy. “We had such positive interactions. We knew we wanted a continuation of care with therapy. It was so helpful that Kyle’s therapist coordinated directly with his doctor to ensure he was progressing safely in recovery.”
Physical therapy for little leaguer’s elbow
Ryan Horvath, senior physical therapist at OrthoIndy South, was also involved in Kyle’s Care. He determined Kyle had two different injuries. “The first injury was epicondylitis, which is a fairly common overuse injury that affects the elbow,” said Ryan. “The second issue could be best described as scapular dyskinesis or improper movement pattern. Dyskinesis usually stems from improper body mechanics that can lead to injury or are a result of trying to avoid pain caused by another injury, in his case epicondylitis.”
After his elbow injuries had been resolved, Ryan noticed that Kyle had weakness and tightness in his core, upper arms and upper back. Ryan put Kyle through an upper body and core strengthening program as well as shoulder range of motion and flexibility exercises to bring his upper body back into balance. This would significantly reduce his risk of re-injury.
Kyle was then given an at home exercise program to help him progress back into baseball. “My experience was great and it helped me do the things I wanted to do,” said Kyle. “Chris and Ryan were really nice and helped me get back into shape.”
Ryan was thankful Kyle was easy to work with. “Kyle was a model patient,” said Ryan. “He was very enthusiastic regarding his exercises and was very much a perfectionist. He asked great questions and worked very hard both in the clinic and at home.”
Through the process, Kyle’s mom noticed he wasn’t only recovering, but also learning about taking care of himself. “Kyle learned about how to take care of his body and how to listen to it,” said Stacy. “He knows that he has to develop all of his muscles at the same time and is now willing to do exercises and stretches that are difficult for him to prevent injury and get stronger.”
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Life after treatment
Kyle is ready to get back out on the baseball field after completing his physical therapy at OrthoIndy.
“I’m feeling much better and stronger than before I was injured,” said Kyle. “My goal is to pitch 60 mph and hit an over the fence home run.”
Stacy wants others to receive the same care Kyle did. “I highly recommend OrthoIndy to anyone considering care there,” said Stacy.
“They are focused on recovery and prevention. If your child commits to their prescribed workout program, they will see a difference. OrthoIndy won’t drag out the process either. Their focus is getting your child back to before injury health quickly versus developing a dependence on their services.”
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