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Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Tear


Athletes and others who continually use the elbow in a throwing motion may experience a common ligament injury known as a UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) tear. In addition to pain and swelling, this injury can limit throwing ability and speed. Keep reading to learn more.

Causes & Triggers

  • Repetitive overhead throwing motion

Signs & Symptoms

  • Decreased throwing ability
  • Inflammation
  • Pain (especially inside elbow)
  • Soreness
  • Swelling

Tips & Treatment

  • Non-athletes may be treated with a regimen of rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, bracing and physical therapy.
  • Throwing athletes, such as pitchers, may require surgical treatment to repair or reconstruct ligaments.
  • The surgery is commonly referred to as “Tommy John Surgery,” named for a former Major League baseball pitcher.

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