What is an Ulnar Ligament Injury?
The elbow is a hinge joint. The humerus (arm bone), radius (large forearm bone), and ulna (small forearm bone) join to form the elbow joint. Ligaments hold the bones together. The ulnar ligament is a ligament on the lateral (outside) part of the elbow.
The ulnar ligament is susceptible to injury. A great deal of stress is placed on the ulnar ligament when throwing motions are performed. Overhead throwing athletes are most at risk to sustain an ulnar ligament injury. An injury can range from mild inflammation and irritation to a complete tear.
Pain is the most common symptom of an ulnar ligament injury. Pain usually gets worse when an object is gripped or a fist is made. Swelling and bruising are symptoms of a complete tear. Decreased range of motion and decreased performance are common.
Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey (OICJ) specialists diagnose and treat ulnar ligament injuries. All specialists are fellowship trained and board-certified. An elbow examination reveals injury severity. An MRI may be ordered if a tear is suspected. A customized treatment plan is prescribed after an accurate diagnosis is made.
How is an Ulnar Ligament Injury Treated?
Nonsurgical treatment options treat mild to moderate injuries. A combination of treatment options is prescribed. Any of the following may be included in an OICJ specialist’s customized treatment plan:
- Rest and ice. Quickly decreases pain and inflammation.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Medications that decrease pain and inflammation.
- Immobilization. The elbow is immobilized in a splint or brace.
- Physical therapy. Stretching and strengthening exercises.
Surgery is usually used to treat complete tears. Tommy John surgery removes the torn ligament and replaces it with a graft, usually one of the patient’s tendons. A splint is worn after surgery. Physical therapy is a very important part of recovery. OICJ specialists are Tommy John surgery experts. To schedule your appointment with an OICJ specialist, call 732-201-6990 or visit our contact page.
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