DID YOU INJURE YOUR UCL?
This is how Dr. Alkhatib and his Team will accurately diagnose your Elbow Injury.
For players who have a suspected UCL injury, accurate and immediate diagnosis is critical. Delayed or missed diagnosis could, and often does, result in time away from playing which could have been avoided. Gathering information is a large part of establishing a player’s diagnosis and includes a physical exam and an MRI.
Factors that help establish treatment are severity of injury; presence or absence of additional injuries, such as bone spurs, loose bone chips, calcification within the UCL, forearm flexor tendon tears or strains, ulnar nerve compression or subluxation, bone stress fractures or stress reactions; seasonal timing, and the player’s desire to continue playing.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS – WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
- Pain localized to inside elbow (location of the UCL) during throwing or after throwing. (figure here)
- Stiffness where elbow is hard to bend or extend.
- Tight feeling in the forearm muscles
- Numbness or tingling the ring and pinky fingers
- Difficulty warming up
- Decreased velocity
- Loss of command
UCL injuries can encompass a spectrum of symptoms. On one end, a player may feel a sudden pop and acute pain during a game and will be unable to continue throwing. On the other end of the spectrum, a patient may simply have progressive loss of accuracy difficulty loosening up, and diminishing velocity.
The injury most commonly afflicts high-level athletes involved in intense throwing. Dr. Alkhatib and his team ascertains the position, competitive level, and future aspirations of athletes who have injured their UCL to determine best individualized treatment. It’s also important to know if the player had a sudden difference in the volume of throwing, velocity, or pitching mechanics. Dr. Alkhatib and his team will also assess problems with their hip, leg, or core function, such as injury or inflexibility that could contribute to their injury. Patients who injure their UCL have various symptoms.