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Elbow – Medial Collateral Ligament Injury

Ligaments are soft tissue structures responsible for holding bones together and limiting their movement. They are frequently injured by trauma.

This is an injury that affects the ligament that attaches to the inside of the elbow. Injury to this ligament can be the result of an acute incident or chronic overload through the medial aspect of the elbow. Both types can lead to a partial failure of the ligament or full rupture of the ligament.

Mechanism of Injury

Acute

  • Landing on outstretched hand resulting in a valgus force to the elbow
  • Tackling in football, arm caught in an awkward position

Chronic

  • Repetitive throwing (baseball pitchers, water polo players)

Features

Pain will usually be in and around the inside of the elbow and will often be very tender to touch.Pain can sometimes radiate down the forearm into the wrist in highly irritable conditions.

Pain will be reported with activities that load the inside aspect of the elbow.

Patients may report a popping sensation on the inside aspect of the elbow which is then associated with local swelling.

Diagnosis
Diagnosis of this condition can be made via clinical testing. MRI will be useful in both the acute and chronic if there is suspicion of high grade ligament injury or other joint problems.

Treatment
Treatment regimes will be different depending on the type of injury. Lower grade tears and overuse injuries can be managed with rest and Physiotherapy guided exercises. Higher grade injuries may require surgery.

elbow

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