What Are Elbow Ligament Injuries?

Strong connective tissues known as ligaments connect the bones of the elbow. Elbow ligament injuries commonly occur due to repetitive throwing motions. Unlike an acute injury that results from a fall or collision with another player, an elbow ligament injury occurs gradually over time. In many cases, overuse ligament injuries develop when an athletic motion occur so frequent that the body does not have enough time to rest and recover.

Elbow ligament injures are commonly seen in baseball players, javelin throwers, football quarterbacks, racket sport players, and manual laborers. Typical symptoms of elbow ligament injuries may include:

  • Pain
  • Popping, catching, grinding
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Weakness
  • Pain when making a fist

Treatment depends on the type and severity of the injury.

How Are Elbow Ligament Injuries Treated?

Elbow ligament sprains and partial tears are treated using conservative, nonsurgical treatment options, such as:

  • Slowing down or stopping painful activities.
  • Activity modification. Changing the throwing motion to take stress off the ligaments.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Over-the-counter and prescription medications used to decrease inflammation and pain.
  • Bracing or splinting.
  • corticosteroid injections.

When nonsurgical treatments do not work or when ligaments are severely damaged, surgical intervention may be necessary. An arthroscopic procedure uses a tiny camera and special instruments to locate and repair the damaged ligaments. Recovery consists of immobilization and physical therapy.