The ulnar collateral ligament can become stretched, frayed or torn through the stress of repetitive throwing motions. If the force on the soft tissues is higher than the tensile strength of the structure, then tiny tears of the ligament can develop. Months (and even years) of throwing hard cause a process of microtears, degeneration, and finally, rupture of the ligament. The dominant arm is affected most often. Eventually, the weakened ligament may rupture completely causing a pop and immediate pain. The athlete may report the injury occurred during a single throw, but the reality is usually that the ligament naturally finally became weakened to the point that it eventually ruptured.
Signs and Symptoms
- Pain along the inside of the elbow.
- Swelling on the inside of the elbow.
- Physical therapy.
- Ligament reconstruction surgery.
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