Evaluation and Treatment of Medial Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injuries in the Throwing Athlete

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Medial ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injuries are common and are seen most frequently in baseball pitchers. Appropriate recognition, treatment, and rehabilitation are necessary to ensure the best chance for return to preinjury levels of participation. Participation in competitive sports may be disrupted for 6 months to 1 year when treated optimally. Abstinence from play may be prolonged when treatment is delayed or if conservative treatment fails; this delay carries significant consequences to the professional, collegiate, and high school athlete. The orthopedic literature is replete with recommendations for the care of these athletes. These recommendations are generally based on retrospective reviews. The purposes of this paper are 3-fold: to provide background knowledge on this injury, to synthesize the current knowledge on the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletes with medial UCL injuries, and lastly, to provide a treatment algorithm for athletes with UCL injuries.

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