The UCL is located on the inside of the elbow. It connects the bone of the upper arm (humerus) to a bone in the forearm (ulna).
Anyone can get a UCL injury from repetitive stress to the elbow or from trauma. But throwers have the highest risk. That’s because throwing motions that twist and bend the elbow put extreme stress on the ligament.
Over time, the UCL can develop tiny or large tears. The ligament stretches and lengthens to the point where it can’t hold the bones tightly enough during throwing activities.
Most UCL injuries occur in baseball players. But other sports are sometimes linked to UCL injuries. These sports include:
- javelin throw
Symptoms of a UCL Injury
Symptoms associated with a UCL injury include:
- Pain on the inside of the elbow
- A sense of looseness or instability in the elbow
- Irritation of the “funny bone” (ulnar nerve): This is felt as tingling or numbness in the small finger and ring finger.
- Decreased ability to throw a baseball or other object
Only rarely do UCL injuries interfere with non-throwing activities, such as:
- activities of daily living
- lifting weights
- batting in baseball