Why the Letters U-C-L Should Concern You in an Injury
This is Travis d’Arnaud of the New York METS . My favorite Major League Baseball team. Travis has a really bad history with injuries over his last several years as the catcher for the Mets. This latest injury is a big one. It will likely result in surgery, which is why the letters U-C-L should concern you in an injury.
UCL stands for Ulnar Collateral Ligament and it is found in the elbow. Baseball players particularly have a high incident rate of sustaining a UCL injury (as do many other overhead athletes and throwers).
The problem with the UCL is that it provides stability to the elbow joint. If it is torn the elbow can become lax and have a lot more movement in it that it normally should. This can often lead to the dreaded Tommy John surgery to repair it. This is likely the option that Travis d’Arnaud will choose to repair the tear in his ligament. He will likely be out for a full 10-12 months while he recovers from this surgical procedure.
ONE THING I LEARNED TODAY:
In baseball players (or any overhead athlete), elbow pain can be something as simple as a tendonitis in the tendons at the elbow, or something as serious as a ligament tear. It would even be argued that a small tendonitis issue could escalate into something more serious. There could be different angles and forces being used to compensate and different stresses being placed on the joint by the athlete. This is why it is very important to be properly evaluated by a qualified medical professional. An orthopedic physician or physical therapist can be a great resource for evaluation purposes and in formulating a plan of care.