What is a UCL Tear?
Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injuries occur when repetitive stress damages the inside of the elbow. They are often referred to as “Tommy John” injuries, named after the famous baseball pitcher who underwent the first surgery for a UCL injury in 1974.
The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is located in the elbow and connects the bone in the upper arm to a bone in the forearm. The UCL can become stretched, frayed or torn through the stress of repetitive throwing motions. Professional baseball pitchers are the athletes most frequently afflicted with this type of injury; but javelin throwers, football players, racquetball players and ice hockey players have also reported UCL injuries. The stretching, fraying and tearing is caused by an athlete’s reliance on the constant throwing motions requiring his or her dominant arm and elbow.