UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Ulnar Collateral ligament injuries of the elbow

Keywords: Elbow, dislocation, instability (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/25/2020 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Ulnar Collateral ligament injuries of the elbow

 

Overhead throwing athletes are at risk of insufficiency and rupture of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the elbow

This can lead to valgus instability similar to what can occur in the knee

Overhead throwing places a significant valgus stress on the elbow

Though classically seen in baseball pitchers, may also be seen in javelin throwers and other high velocity throwing sports

In the acute setting may be seen after an elbow dislocation

History includes a “pop” and medial elbow pain following throwing activities

In cases of overuse injury, athletes will report a progressive loss of velocity, accuracy, and/or endurance with throwing.

The ulnar collateral ligament is the primary restraint to valgus stress from 30 to 120 degrees of flexion

One classic test for UCL instability is the milking maneuver

Patient may be sitting or standing

Patient’s forearm is supinated and elbow flexed at 90 degrees

A valgus force is applied by pulling the patient’s thumb while the examiner’s other hand stabilizes the elbow and palpates the medial joint line. 

Instability, pain or apprehension at the UCL is considered a positive test

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbn24X_qqn0