What is an Elbow Ligament Tear?
An Elbow Ligament tear is an injury to one of the ligaments inside your elbow. Elbow ligament injury is of critical importance because ligaments provide support and stability to the elbow joint to prevent angulation, rotation, and excessive motion in the joint.
What are the Causes of Elbow Ligament Tear?
An Elbow Ligament Tear may be caused by a sudden injury or a gradual rip in the ligament over time. The most common causes of the tear include repetitive throwing motions in sports such as baseball, cricket, and gymnastics, etc.
Athletes and individuals who use their arm repetitively for work or a hobby are more vulnerable to this condition. Children participating in Little League sports teams or involved in other sporting activities are also vulnerable to the condition.
An elbow ligament tear is also categorized as a sprain. They are classified into three degrees with respect to severity. In a first-degree sprain, the ligament is injured and painful but not stretched. In the second-degree sprain, the ligament is stretched, which causes pain, but the ligament remains functional.
In the final and third-degree sprain, the ligament is partially or completely torn, disabling the ligament from functioning naturally.
What are the Symptoms of Ligament Tears in Elbows?
An Elbow Ligament Tear is felt as a ‘popping’ sensation in the elbow. You may feel a pulling sensation accompanied by the pop and warm feeling in your elbow. You will be unable to continue using your elbow afterward.
Other symptoms of Elbow Ligament Tear include:
- Pain in the elbow.
- Swelling and bruising in and around the elbow.
- Inability to straighten the elbow.
- Loss of strength in the arm and hand.
What Are Treatment Options for Elbow Ligament Tears?
If the ligament is stretched but not torn, then non-surgical treatments are recommended to heal the injured ligament.
If an Elbow Ligament Tear does not heal with the non-invasive treatments, then your doctor will recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy can take some time, but it is effective.
However, if the ligament is not showing any sign of improvement with physical therapy after 3-4 weeks of treatment, or if the ligament is torn, then a surgical option is necessary.
Surgical treatment for an Elbow Ligament Tear involves:
- Repair of the ligament.
- Reconstruction of the ligament.
It is performed as an outpatient procedure, which means that you will be able to leave the hospital on the same day as surgery.
It is a small operation with guaranteed and proven results. After the surgery, your doctor will recommend physical therapy to regain full use of your elbow.
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How Do I Know If I Tore a Tendon in My Elbow?
- You may hear a popping sound from your elbow.
- The symptoms of a severe ligament sprain include the outset of pain in the elbow.
- A sudden inflammation and development of bruises around the affected area.
How Long Does It Take for a Torn Ligament in the Elbow to Heal?
- It will take almost 2 to 3 weeks to completely heal your elbow through a sling.
- Depending on its severity level, you can follow a physical therapist’s advice as he may suggest effective strengthening exercises.
- An elbow ligament tear can recover completely in approximately four weeks.
How Do You Treat a Torn Tendon in the Elbow?
- Applying ice on the elbow can relieve pain and inflammation.
- Utilization of a flexible elbow strap can reduce mobility, thus helping in a fast recovery process.
- By taking non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs, elbow pain can be relieved.
Can a Torn Ligament in the Elbow Heal Itself?
- A flexible splint or a sling can be used for several weeks to reduce your elbow mobility so as to fasten the healing process.
- Completely torn elbow ligaments do not heal on their own.
- Surgical options can be utilized in case if the ligament is completely torn.