Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury

The ulnar collateral ligament is located on the inside of the elbow and is typically an injury seen in throwing athletes. UCL sprains are caused by repetitive strenuous motions such as throwing a football or baseball. These motions can put stress on the ligament causing inflammation and small tears within the ligament.

Symptoms of Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury or Sprain

  • Sharp pain on the inside of the elbow
  • Tingling or numbness radiating down to ring and small fingers
  • Instability in the elbow, a sense of looseness
  • Inability to throw normally
  • Feel or hear a pop when moving the elbow

Treatment options include rest, anti-inflammatory medications, ice, and elbow brace. Severe tears or ruptures may require UCL reconstruction, also commonly known as Tommy John Surgery.

Gamekeeper Thumb (Thumb Ulnar Collateral Ligament Sprain)

Gamekeeper thumb is a chronic injury that develops over time from repeated stretching of the ulnar collateral ligament in the thumb. Common causes include falling on an outstretched hand or falling while holding a ski pole.

Symptoms of Gamekeeper Thumb

  • Pain, swelling and tenderness of the thumb
  • Difficulty pinching and gripping with the thumb
  • Limited range of motion in the thumb

Treatment typically includes placing the thumb and wrist in a cast for 4 to 6 weeks. More severe injuries may require Thumb UCL Repair Surgery. Our Emory orthopaedic hand and upper extremity surgeons will discuss the best treatment option for your injury.

If you have questions, or to make an appointment, call: 404-778-3350.