Injury on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament Skip to main content

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Injury on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament

Injury on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament - El Paso Chiropractor
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Sports such as baseball, which majorly involve constant overhand throws can place great amounts of stress on the elbow as well as any other throwing sport. The constant stress baseball pitchers or other throwing athletes experience can many times cause serious overuse injury. Overuse injuries, in difference to trauma from an injury, usually develops gradually over time due to the frequent athletic movements athletes participate i during the sport and, as a result, the body is not given the necessary time needed to rest and repair itself. 
Injuries from throwing sports mainly occur at the inside of the elbow. During a throw, an athlete uses considerable force over the inner elbow to throw continuously at great speeds, concentrating stress on the elbow.

Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury
The ulnar collateral ligament, or UCL, is referred to as the ligament most commonly injured among throwing athletes. Found on the inside part of the elbow, the UCL runs from the inner part of the humerus to the inner part of the ulna. The ligament can tolerate an utmost amount of stress to be able to stabilize the elbow during overhand throwing. Ulnar collateral ligament injuries can range from minor irritation to a complete tear of the ligament.

The most commonly known symptom of an ulnar collateral ligament injury is direct pain over the location of the ligament on the innermost area of the elbow. Other frequent symptoms include pain experienced while throwing, a “popping” sensation when the pain begins, inflammation on the elbow, numbness and/or a tingling sensation felt in the hand and fingers, and a decrease in the velocity of the affected athlete’s pitch or a limited ability to throw.  

In majority of cases, the pain and symptoms of a UCL injury will resolve when the athlete stops throwing. This type of injury rarely occurs in non-throwers. In throwing sports like baseball, the risk of developing an ulnar collateral ligament injury depends on each athlete, mainly because damage is independent to an individual according to the amount of time spent practicing throws, to the velocity of a throw, and even depending on how tall and heavy the athlete is.

Even so, it’s always important to receive a careful evaluation of any suspected injury because not every elbow pain in a throwing athlete can be a UCL injury.

By Dr. Alex Jimenez

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