What Is Panner's Disease?
Panner's disease happens from temporary changes in the capitellum. The capitellum is the outside bone of the elbow at the end of the upper arm bone (the humerus).
Healing can take time, but most teens with Panner's disease recover with no lasting problems.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Panner's Disease?
Panner's disease causes elbow pain around the outside part of elbow. The pain usually gets worse with activity, such as throwing a ball, and becomes better with rest.
The elbow also may also be stiff, swollen, and hurt to touch.
What Causes Panner's Disease?
Panner's disease is caused by stress on the capitellum and the surrounding cartilage. The stress is usually from repeated motions in sports, such as throwing in baseball or tumbling in gymnastics.
Who Gets Panner's Disease?
Panner's disease usually happens in:
- kids who are early in their growth spurt (usually around 5–10 years old)
- kids and teens who are active in sports that use the arms a lot
How Is Panner's Disease Diagnosed?
To diagnose Panner's disease, health care providers:
- ask about a teen's physical activities, such as sports
- do an exam, paying special attention to the elbow
- do an X-ray of the elbow
Usually no other testing is needed. Sometimes an MRI is done to look at the bone in more detail.
How Is Panner's Disease Treated?
A teen with Panner's disease needs to avoid all activities that cause pain so the bone can heal. This may mean taking a break from sports.
The health care provider may also recommend that you:
- Put ice or a cold pack on the elbow every 1–2 hours for 15 minutes at a time. (Put a thin towel over the skin to protect it from the cold.)
- Go for physical therapy to help with stretching and strengthening of the arm.
- Take medicine for pain such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or store brand) or acetaminophen (Tylenol or store brand). Follow the directions that come with the medicine on how much to take and how often.
Sometimes, if the pain does not go away after a few weeks, a teen may need to wear a cast or splint to keep the arm still during healing.
Can Teens With Panner's Disease Still Do Sports?
Teens with Panner's disease usually need to take a break from sports. When playing the sport no longer causes pain, they can try it again. This is usually only a few weeks, but sometimes can take months.
Bones are very good at healing and rebuilding. Over time, the injury to the upper arm bone completely repairs itself. Most teens with Panner's disease have no problems after they heal. Very rarely, someone can have trouble straightening the arm all the way.