Tommy John Surgery (Ulnar Collateral Ligament Repair)

Every person is different in the amount of throws they can perform at 100% before their arm gives out. A common site of overuse is the ulnar collateral ligament.

This picture shows where the injury occurs and the surgery involves removing a tendon from the forearm and threading it through the medial aspect of the elbow to replace the torn ligament.

While working at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital I saw too many fractures of the growth plate of the medial epicondyle where the wrist flexors attach. Now working with older athletes that have closed growth plates the fractures are not as common but the ligaments in the area fail with overuse.

Overuse comes from playing a specialized sport year round and literally overusing the body. Another form of overuse is due to a lack of full body efficiency which requires part of the body to be overworked and fail.

Lesson: Long term athletic development should always be the goal for young athletes with athleticism being the goal and not early specialization. More on this in the future.

2nd lesson: Older athletes should work with practitioners that can help improve their spinal, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and really full body mobility, stability, and efficiency in order to decrease the amount of stress on one area of the body in order to prolong their athletic career.

Short sighted efforts to improve athletic performance will always results in a lack of long term athletic performance and success in collegiate sports or professional careers.

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