Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed., July 13, 2016
Exactly where an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear is located makes a difference, says new work presented at the 2016 American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“The goal of our research was to see if an objective measure like physical examination or imaging from an MRI could help predict non-operative treatment failures in these professional pitchers,” commented the study’s senior author Mark S. Schickendantz, M.D. from the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health Center in Cleveland, Ohio. “We determined that distal tears, involving where the ligament attaches to the bone across the joint, had higher rates of failure when not treated with surgery as compared to proximal tears.”
According to the July 8, 2016 news release, “The study examined pitchers sustaining UCL injuries between 2006 and 2015 from one professional baseball organization, including both major and minor league teams. A total of 38 players with injury were identified, of which 32 (84%) received non-operative treatment for partial ligament tears. A proximal tear of the UCL was identified in 81% of the patients that were successfully treated non-operatively. By contrast, a distal tear of the UCL was detected in the patients that failed non-operative treatment and required surgical intervention.”