An ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear is an elbow injury prevalent among baseball pitchers and athletes who throw. The team at Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics provides UCL tear treatment for adolescents and adults at four locations in Nashville and one in Franklin, Tennessee. For advanced treatment of UCL tears, call the nearest office or book an appointment online today.
The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) attaches your upper arm bone to the ulna, one of the bones in your forearm. The UCL supports your elbow and helps you perform certain motions, like throwing a baseball.
Overuse or trauma can cause the UCL to tear, causing elbow pain and instability, making it difficult or impossible to throw a ball.
Tommy John surgery is a UCL tear treatment that gets its name from a baseball pitcher – the first person to undergo a UCL reconstruction procedure and return to play successfully.
Most UCL tears occur gradually due to repetitive stress on the ligament. Athletes who use overhead arm motions like throwing are most likely to injure their UCL this way.
You can also tear your UCL suddenly, like from a fall on an outstretched arm. A sudden UCL tear may occur with other acute injuries, like an elbow fracture or dislocation.
You may have a UCL tear if you experience the following signs and symptoms:
UCL tear symptoms most often affect your ability to participate in throwing sports. You may still be able to carry out most daily living activities, like carrying a bag of groceries.
UCL injuries can be challenging to diagnose, which is why it’s essential to seek treatment from the expert team at Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics.
They thoroughly review your medical history and perform a physical exam that may include a valgus stress test, which evaluates the condition of your UCL.
On-site imaging tests at Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics, like an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, help the team diagnose your UCL injury so they can develop a treatment plan.
Many people find sufficient pain relief from the conservative treatment of UCL tears. Non-surgical treatments include:
If non-surgical treatment doesn’t work, or if you’re a throwing athlete who wants to return to sports, surgery may be necessary.
The expert team at Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics specializes in Tommy John surgery, which involves reconstructing the UCL with a tendon from another part of your body or a donor.
If you think you have a UCL tear, call Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics, or book an appointment online today.
Our UCL Tear Specialists