UCL Tear

What is it and how is it treated?

What is a UCL Tear?

The UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) is a ligament on the inside of the elbow that provides stability and rotation for the elbow joint.  An injury to the UCL is commonly associated with baseball pitchers, however, the UCL can be injured in different ways.

In some instances, the UCL can be torn due to an accident or sudden trauma such as a fall onto an outstretched arm or an impact that dislocates the elbow and tears the UCL in the process.

In other instances, the UCL is torn due to repetitive strain (such as throwing) that weakens the ligament over time.  The research has shown that repetitive throwing over the course of many years slowly weakens the ligament by creating small micro tears.  Because many pitchers do not adequately rest their throwing arms, these tears do not have time to heal properly and develop into larger tears that cause pain and instability.

This injury is also common among those whose jobs require repetitive overhead motions, such as painting or construction.  

If you have a UCL Tear the common symptoms can include:

  • Pain on the inside of the elbow (especially when in the acceleration phase of throwing)
  • Instability of the elbow
  • A feeling of grinding or clicking in the elbow
  • Bruising
  • Hearing a “pop” at the moment of injury

The Board Certified Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists at OrthoNeuro have helped thousands of patients with a UCL Tear return to an active and healthy lifestyle using a variety of treatment options.

How is a UCL Tear Treated at OrthoNeuro?

Depending upon the severity of the UCL tear, and your level of activity, your OrthoNeuro Specialist may recommend several treatment options.

These treatment options can include:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Throwing mechanics improvement
  • Rest
  • Injection Therapy

In the instances where the ligament is severely torn, or if you are a high-level athlete, your OrthoNeuro Specialist may recommend a procedure commonly known as Tommy John Surgery (UCL Repair or UCL Reconstruction Surgery).  The goal of this procedure is to repair the UCL to improve stability to the ligament as well as remove scar tissue or bone spurs that may have formed around the ligament.

Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Specialist Today! 

  • If you have been experiencing the symptoms of a UCL Tear, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus. 
  • We will evaluate your unique lifestyle and goals to determine which type of treatment is best for you. 
  • Best of all, most patients can be seen within 24 hours of making an appointment.
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Meet Our Elbow Specialists

Desmond J. Stutzman, DO

Orthopedic Hand & Elbow Surgeon

James C. Cassandra, DO

Orthopedic Hand & Elbow Surgeon

Gary M. Millard, DO

Orthopedic Hand & Elbow Surgeon

Scott P. Stephens, MD

Orthopedic Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon

Benjamin W. Szerlip, DO

Orthopedic Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon

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