ShoreOrtho Sports Performance
& Injury Prevention Tips
A monthly series presented by:
Damon A. Greene, MD
Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon
Shore Orthopaedic University Associates
UCL TEARS (Tommy John Procedure)
Baseball season is right around the corner. So let’s take a few minutes and talk UCL (Ulnar Collateral Ligament) injuries.
UCL injuries are very common for throwing athletes and those that use their upper extremity frequently. There are two types of injuries acute and chronic. An acute injury can occur if too much stress is put on the elbow in one single incident which can cause the ligament to tear. A chronic injury typically occurs from repeated stress on the ligament. This causes the ligament to be stretched, frayed or torn. The repetitive motion of throwing can cause small micro tears in the ligament which can result in rupture of the ligament. While everyone’s symptoms are different, patients who sustain a UCL injury will experience elbow pain, numbness, and swelling. Elbow instability will also occur. Some patients suffering from an elbow ligament injury may have trouble gripping items with their hands. Athletes will experience a loss of control with throwing and will not be able to complete a throw at full speed or strength. With an acute UCL injury there is typically a pop or tearing sound.