November 27, 2015
Ulnar collateral ligament injuries of the elbow are occurring with increased frequency among overhead athletes. These injuries are thought to be due to an acute-on-chronic mechanism of microtrauma of overuse. Although most commonly seen in pitchers, ulnar collateral ligament injuries can also occur in javelin throwers, gymnasts, quarterbacks and other overhead athletes who exert a valgus stress across the elbow.
The injury occurs more frequently in men, and is diagnosed by history and physical exam using primarily the milking maneuver and the moving valgus stress test. Radiographs are typically normal, but advanced imaging, including ultrasound and MRI, play a role in confirming the diagnosis.