ligaments help to keep the
elbow stabilized during activities, and to provide feedback to the
muscles. The ligaments of the elbow are comprised of the ulnar
collateral ligament, the radial collateral ligament, and the annular
ligament. Injuries to the elbow can often involve the ligaments,
espcially the ulnar collateral ligament. This type of injury is very
common with overhead throwers, especially pitchers.
Unlnar Collateral Ligament
ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is the primary medial stabilizer of the
elbow. Of the elbow ligaments, it is the most commonly injured. It runs
from the medial side of the humerus to the ulna, and is composed of two
The anterior band, seen in the picture, is
that is injured with UCL sprains
. Ever heard of Tommy
This is the ligament that is torn, and subsequently reconstructed
during this procedure.
Injury to the UCL can be
acutely, or can be degenerative over time. Overhead throwers can be
affected, since they place a great amount of stress on the medial side
of the elbow.
The posterior band of the UCL is not
as commonly injured in sports.
annular ligament surrounds the head of the radius and attaches it to
the humerus. It allows the radius to rotate, which enables you to turn
your forearm, like when you turn a doorknob. Although it is not
commonly injured with sports, it can cause problems and limit motion if
the elbow is immobilized for long periods, such as after a fracture or
ligaments play an important role in stabilizing the elbow. Ulnar
collateral ligament injury is the most common injury to the ligaments.
The ligaments attach the radius, ulna, and humerus, and help to prevent
excessive joint motions.