What is a UCL?


UCL stands for Ulnar Collateral Ligament. This ligament is located inside of the elbow. It’s attached to one side of the humerus and the other side of the ulna.

Ligaments are tough bands of tissue around the joints. They hold bones together and allow for motion and to limit movement of joints. However, when the ligament tears the bones move about freely and have too much free range. When this occurs in the ulnar collateral ligament it can be extremely painful.

UCL Tear

A UCL tear typically occurs through repeated stress from overhead movement. Usually, this occurs over time and if noticed early on, the amount of damage is likely to decrease. An ulnar collateral ligament injury is normal in sports that require overhead arm use, such as baseball and javelin. However, it is possible for you to tear the ligament falling on an outstretched arm. Although, it is more common to occur with overuse of the ligament, especially during throwing activities.

Symptoms of a UCL Injury

  • Pain on the inside of the elbow
  • A sense of looseness or instability in the elbow
  • Decreased ability to throw a baseball or other object
  • Tingling or numbness in the small finger and ring finger

UCL Injury Causes

  • Repetitive throwing
  • Previous nerve or tendon damage to the surrounding area
  • Repetitive stress to the elbow
  • Motor-vehicle accident
  • Baseball
  • Soccer
  • Cheerleading
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Rugby
  • Tennis
  • Javelin Throw

UCL Injury Treatment

Although not typical, sometimes your physician may be able to diagnose your injury with an examination. However, it’s more common for imaging (X-ray or MRI) to be ordered for 100% accuracy.


  • Rest
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications ( aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.)
  • Ice to the elbow daily for pain and swelling
  • Physical Therapy


UCL Reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery)

During this procedure, a tendon is either taken from elsewhere in your body or from a donor to replace the damaged one. However, in order to secure the new tendon, tunnels are drilled in the ulna and humerus to attach the new tendon.

For a preferred specialist in the Broward or Palm Beach County area call us today at 888-409-8006.