What You Should Know About Torn Elbow Ligaments

December 14, 2021 12:33 am Published by Leave your thoughts

We use our elbows in some way for nearly everything we do—you probably don’t realize how much you use your elbow until you hurt it! There are multiple types of elbow injuries out there, but ligament tears are some of the most common ones.

This post will cover everything you should know about torn elbow ligaments and the paths we can take towards elbow injury treatment.

Ligament tear causes

Elbow ligaments often tear over longer periods from overuse in sports like tennis, baseball or golf, but they can also occur in the workplace for those who have jobs in carpentry, manufacturing or other manual labor. This gradual ligament fraying is known as micro tears, but sudden blows to the elbow can also cause an elbow torn ligament, which we see happen in football or other contact sports.

Symptoms of torn ligaments

Many athletes report hearing a popping sound when they tear a ligament in a game or practice. You won’t hear that sound if your ligament deteriorates over time, but you’ll experience the same symptoms.

You may first notice swelling or bruising around your inner elbow and upper forearm, along with elbow stiffness. Depending on the severity, you may have a weakened hand grip or numbness in your fingers or hand.

Elbow injury treatment

Some elbow injuries will heal by themselves over time, while others require professional assistance. Here are a few treatment options:

  • Ice and rest: The best treatment for minor ligament injuries is sometimes just to take some time off and let the ligament heal. While rehabbing, be sure to apply ice to your injured elbow, and keep it elevated. This healing process may be slow, but it’s very effective for treating minor tears.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: When you need to get back out there but the pain is just too much, try taking anti-inflammatory medications. Ibuprofen, Advil and other similar medications can do wonders to relieve pain for a short time.
  • PRP therapy: One of the newest ways to treat ligament tears is with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. This treatment method involves injecting patients with their own concentrated plasma in painful areas to help stimulate ligament regeneration. Bernard Ong, M.D. performs PRP therapy because it’s safe and effective in treating minor tears.
  • Surgery: If the methods above don’t work, a surgeon may need to perform Tommy John surgery. This surgery is named after a baseball pitcher who first underwent the procedure in 1974. During the operation, the damaged ligament is replaced with a ligament from another part of the body, like the hamstring or forearm. Rehab for this procedure can take a few months, so it’s often the last resort.

Make an appointment today

Contact Bernard Ong, M.D. if you have an elbow torn ligament and nothing seems to be helping. Whether we need to perform PRP therapy or schedule you for surgery, Dr. Ong will work with you to develop a specialized treatment plan to get your elbow back to perfect condition.

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