For the last two weeks the Little League Baseball World Series has captured the imagination of people across the country. Mo’ne Davis took center stage as she became the first female in Little League World Series history to shut out a team. The kids from Jackie Robinson West on the South Side of Chicago inspired us as they reached all the way to the championship game.
At a time when we’re celebrating youth baseball, we should reflect on the increase in surgeries performed on young baseball players. This article by Dr. Bouvier covers ulnar collateral ligament injuries, from symptoms, risk factors and testing to treatment.
ULNAR COLLATERAL LIGAMENT INJURIES OF THE ELBOW
Elbow injuries in adolescent athletes have gained quite a bit of attention over the last decade with increased sports participation, physician awareness, and media attention. There has also been an alarming rate of increased surgical procedure performed in younger athletes in that timeframe.
What is it?
The ulnar collateral ligament is a 3 part ligament on the inside part of the elbow that connects the upper arm to one of the forearm bones (ulna). It provides stability to the hinge joint of the elbow resisting the outward directed stress placed on the elbow during the throwing motion. Pitching a baseball has been shown to generate forces at the elbow very close to the ultimate strength of the ulnar collateral ligament, which over time and repetition, can lead to failure of the ligament.
To learn more about the symptoms, risk factors, testing and treatment of ulnar collateral ligament injuries see Dr. Bouvier’s complete article. You will also find some useful safety guidelines from USA Baseball on youth and pitching limits.