Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury

The Ulnar Collateral Ligament is a band of ligaments that connects the upper arm bone (humerus) to the lower arm bone (ulna). These soft tissue structures stabilize the elbow joint and allow a person to perform overhead arm movements such as playing tennis or throwing a ball. An ulnar collateral Injury occurs due to stretching, loosening or tearing of these ligaments. The condition may result in physical limitations and is a common injury observed in sportspersons. Ulnar Collateral Ligament damage does not occur due to stress form daily activities as this type of damage requires a considerable amount of force that exceeds the threshold of the ligaments to cause lengthening or tears. This injury has a high incidence of re-occurring post treatment.


  • Overuse injuries caused by repeated overhead movement such as playing volleyball or basketball
  • Inherent weakness of the muscles and ligaments
  • Improper throwing techniques
  • Not warming up before indulging in a sport
  • Elbow Dislocations
  • The ligaments may be damaged due to surgical procedures applied on the elbow joint or the upper arm


  • Pain in the elbow joint and the arm, which may increase while performing tasks that require lifting the hands or arms above the head
  • Swelling and tenderness in the inner side of the elbow joint or the upper arm
  • Limited range of motion
  • A tingling sensation in the arm and inner side of the elbow
  • Weakness in the elbow joint
  • Numbness in the fingers (particularly little finger) and hand
  • Loss of grip
  • A popping sound at the time of injury
  • Stiffness
  • Change in color of the fingernails


  • Analysis of the existing symptoms reported by the patient
  • MRI scan may be required to view the ligaments
  • The doctor may use palpation and pressure to identify the exact location of pain


  • The patient may be recommended to take rest and abstain from any physical activities that cause pain
  • Physical therapy with special focus on ROM (range of motion) exercises may be recommended to accelerate recovery
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed by the doctor
  • Ice packs may be applied to ease pain and swelling
  • Protective splint or elbow brace may be recommended
  • In case of complete tear, surgery may be suggested. It will aim at reconstructing the ligament and removing the damaged parts, if any
  • It may also be advised to avoid arm movements that aggravate pain or increase the risk of injury

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