It is common for a patient to see an orthopaedic surgeon and find out that the injury he or she has won’t heal without surgery. Not every injury needs surgery, though. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I explain how a common elbow injury in pitchers might not need surgery for non-athletes. If you are active but not a throwing athlete, do you need surgery for a UCL tear?

Jessie asks:
I am not a sports player, but I fell on the palm of my hand and tore my UCL. My orthopedic surgeon thinks therapy and no surgery is the best option. But he says I may have limited ROM. Does this sound normal? Would I benefit more from surgery? I really want full use of my arm. Do they only repair the UCL if your a baseball player?

Baseball pitchers often need Tommy John surgery for UCL injuries in order to stabilize the elbow against the stresses that the pitching motion place on the elbow. Most non-throwing athletes and non-athletes don’t put their elbows through those same stresses. Therefore, they can usually go about their lives and perform their normal activities without undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery. Watch the video, and I explain the injury and treatment in more detail, including surgery for a UCL tear.

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier: Partial UCL injuries of the elbow
Ask Dr. Geier – Tommy John injuries

Does an active person need surgery for a UCL tear?

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