Definition of Ulnar collateral ligament injury of the elbow (UCL)

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Ulnar collateral ligament injury of the elbow (UCL): An injury of the ulnar collateral ligament, a structure that helps maintain the anatomical relationship between the bones of the forearm and arm. Injury of the ulnar collateral ligament can occur suddenly when the ligament is torn or may develop slowly over time with repeated activities that stress the ligament. Athletes at particular risk for ulnar collateral ligament injury include overhead throwers like baseball pitchers, those who play other throwing sports, volleyball and tennis. Symptoms can include pain on the inner side of the elbow, stiffness of the elbow joint, numbness or tingling of the ring and little fingers, and a weak hand grip. Mild injuries are treated conservatively, although surgery may be required when unresponsive to other treatments.


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Washington Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Ulnar collateral ligament injury of the elbow.

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