Ulnar Collateral Ligament in the Overhead Athlete: A Current Review

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Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injuries are most commonly reported in baseball players (particularly in pitchers) but have also been observed in other overhead athletes including javelin, softball, tennis, volleyball, water polo, and gymnastics. Partial injuries have been successfully treated with appropriate nonoperative measures but complete tears and chronic injuries have shown less benefit from conservative measures. In these cases, surgical reconstruction has become the treatment modality for overhead athlete who wishes to continue to play. This article discusses the functional anatomy and biomechanics of the UCL as related to the pathophysiology of overhead throwing, as well as the important clinical methods needed to make accurate and timely diagnosis. It also gives an updated review of the current clinical outcomes and complications of surgical reconstruction.

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