UCL Tear Overview
The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) stabilizes the inside part of the elbow joint. A partial or complete UCL tear is a serious injury that will not heal on its own. A Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) elbow specialist should see the injury as soon as possible.
Symptoms & Causes
UCL tear symptoms include:
- Elbow joint instability
- Numbness and tingling in the small and ring fingers
Throwing sports are the main UCL tear cause.
Nonsurgical treatment options treat some partial tears. After a thorough evaluation, a CONA elbow specialist may recommend:
- Activity modification
- Immobilization in a cast, splint or sling
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
- Rest and ice
Surgery may be recommended to treat complete tears. A CONA elbow specialist performs a UCL repair (Tommy John Surgery) to repair the torn ligament and stabilize the elbow.
A CONA specialist listens carefully as the patient describes how their injury occurred and what symptoms have presented. A physical examination tests elbow strength and stability. An MRI shows the UCL and other elbow soft tissues.