Confirmed UCL tear, anybody had experience with this?

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by ProdigyOfZen, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. ProdigyOfZen

    ProdigyOfZen Orange Belt

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    Okay, i got my results today from MRI and I do have a partial tear of my UCL (Ulnar collateral ligament) in my left elbow. It is a band of 3 ligaments and I have a slight tear in my anterior ligament of the UCL. This happened from a key lock. I have really flexible shoulders etc and was feeling no pain when it was applied then all of a sudden my elbow pops.

    Has anybody had any experience with this injury? The ortho said I should take another 6-8 weeks off (been 2 weeks already) and do therapy. I have been doing electro shock therapy as well as ultrasound on my elbow since the first week.

    I do not need surgery and he even said I could do bench press if say for example I could do 200 lbs i should do 100 lbs. BUT not to do anything that hurts the arm. It is hard to get a straight answer out of this Ortho surgeon and I am afraid that the ligament will never heal.

    I have been reading a lot about it but just wanted to check here on Sherdog to see if anybody else has gone through this injury. I hope the ligament heals back to normal and not this BS i have been reading about where it never heals just the muscles are built up around it.

    The doctor mentioned it is like an MCL sprain in the knee. I assume I have a grade I/Grade II UCL tear. I do not have a grade III and he said I would not need surgery.

    Thanks for all your help, really bummed about this.
     
  2. anaconda

    anaconda Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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    Listen to your ortho.

    I replied to your PM.

    I was even more doubtful bc I had a grade 3 full rupture but it healed fully on its own. It still gets sore from time to time but its probably 95% (and has been for some time).

    Some stuff still bothers me occasionally, but its more from a fear of reinjury than anything actually wrong. Just make sure you tap fast to americanas and armbars when recovering.
     
  3. anaconda

    anaconda Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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    Oh one thing that does bother me is throwing. I don't feel comfortable throwing anything with a lot of force. It may be partially psychological, but its there nonetheless.
     
  4. ProdigyOfZen

    ProdigyOfZen Orange Belt

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    Thanks man! Well this is my non throwing arm. I am going to sit out and not do anything but PT for the rest of october. We will see what happens but thankfully it is just a partial tear of the anterior band of my UCL. Not completely blown out.
     
  5. Bostonkrav

    Bostonkrav Blue Belt

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    Hello,
    So I tore 2 of the 3 bands in my UCL completly.
    I did the same thing you are doing and looked for other's experience.

    So the good news is you do not use the UCL for most everyday activites, so as my Dr. said unless you are a professional pithcher you will not need the Tommy-John surgery.

    The ligaments do not grow back but you do get scar tissue which provides some stability (I feel like I have 75% of the pre-injury stability ) .

    My recovery was much longer than 8 weeks, took me around 4 months before I started to feel normal and a full year before the healing was complete (or as good as it was going to be)

    I'm able to do pretty much anything now except throw a baseball hard, or play tennis, There is defenitly some aches and pains with it and I tap very quickly when my right arm is attacked but I'm able to roll and compete now at 100%

    My adivce is to listen to your DR, and do PT right away to get your range of motion back and keep the muscles strong. Don't be in a hurry to roll, let it heal or it can get worse, be very cautious when you do roll, start with a brace and go from there. Also let your training partners know not to go nuts with the american on that side.

    Send me a PM if you have any more specific questions.

    But don't worry with a partial tear you will be good as new after some rest :D
     
  6. Lawman53

    Lawman53 White Belt

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    I've never understood the whole, you don't need TJ surgery unless you are a pitcher.

    My UCL was completely torn and I couldn't run on pavement without my elbow popping in and out of joint.

    I had the surgery and my elbow is totally stable.

    Look, if you don't feel comfortable with your ortho, seek a second opinion. The first one I went to told me that all I had done was dislocated the elbow and could be back after a few weeks of PT. He was very wrong.

    And lastly, electro-shock therapy? If that's what you're getting (as opposed to a TENs unit), you probably have a malpractice suit!
     
    mattemate likes this.
  7. Bostonkrav

    Bostonkrav Blue Belt

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    Of course talk to your Dr.

    How longer after the tear did your elbow hurt running?
    For weeks I couldn't even get a fork to my mouth due to pain and ROM issues, but it slowly got better.

    Perhaps because I only tore 2 of the 3 bands I didn't need surgery. but I didn't get the surgery and I can do most things without any pain. (Though baseball and tennis are out :icon_cry2)
     
  8. ProdigyOfZen

    ProdigyOfZen Orange Belt

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    Hahahah I meant Electro therapy, my bad. yes teh TENs unit!. Well the ortho said I have a partial tear of my anterior ligament of the UCL so it should heal fully.

    The only thing I wonder is the ligament going to heal itself or just always be torn? The doc was surprised i did it from blunt force trauma and not gradual like he is use to seeing. He said it must have been some force that was applied.

    I have a problem with the whole, you don't surgery unless you are a pro pitcher etc BS as well. Most docs say this because they want you to return to normal everyday activities like sitting on your ass or lifting a can of beer or soda. If you can do that pain free then their job is done.

    I am seeing a Chiropractor who is a BJJ black belt and working on PT with me. What I want is the arm to go back to the way it was BEFORE the injury.

    I think this can be accomplished since it is only a tear of the UCL and not a complete blow out.
     
  9. ProdigyOfZen

    ProdigyOfZen Orange Belt

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    Oh one more thing, the Ortho said my injury is similar to an MCL sprain of the knee. Which i know isnt that bad and even NFL Rbs get it and come back in a month. But then again they are much more of a pro athlete than i am. So it is grade I/gradeII tear.
     
  10. anaconda

    anaconda Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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    Just to update for ppl who might search this later -

    My grade 3 full rupture of the medial collateral ligament in the elbow (also called ulnar collateral ligament) pretty much did heal on its own.

    Some drs, believe it or not, do know what they are talking about. Mine happened last year in May and I started training again late August, early September. I have competed nearly a dozen times in the past year with no issues either. Every once in a while it gets sore and once I had an americana like sub cranked really quickly and I was out for about a week or two. Other than that its pretty well healed.

    I do feel like I could do some strengthening though to get it closer to 100% but I don't have time. All in all its definitely not one of the worst injuries out there.
     
  11. Stanger

    Stanger Orange Belt

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    I had a similar issue. I had an americana applied by a higher belt so fast and hard that I couldn't tap. He acted as if it was the first and last submission he was ever going to get. My elbow popped, but now that I think about it, it seems like it was more of a cracking sound. I felt instant pain. Sat out, iced it and by the end of class I thought I was ok. The next couple days it was sore but I didn't have any range of motion issues or swelling. I sat out about 2 months and just started back training. My first night back I went in a weird motion that cause me some pain but it went away and I finished out the night. No pain afterwards.

    On a side note, I got my shoulder tweaked in a kimura my first night back so now my shoulder is sore, lol. I am still very cautious with my elbow and I try to ensure that I don't expose it. I know that I will tap immediately. Funny thing is, at no time did my elbow injury cause me any other quality of life issues. I was able to workout and do pretty much everything else, even when it was sore.
     
  12. ProdigyOfZen

    ProdigyOfZen Orange Belt

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    hah thats great man, seems you brought this thread back from the dead
     
  13. SLIMPIMPIN**

    SLIMPIMPIN** Yellow Belt

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    i will be bringing this thread to ask more questions sorry guys haah

    i didn't hurt mine with a sub but i guess its all the same? I was playing open and sat up to take the single leg and the other guy did the sit on your ass and try to overhead sweep reverse and i made a VERY DUMB mistake and tried to hail mary stop this from happening by posting out my left arm and guess what it sounded like someone stomped on a bag of cheerios

    i thought i was fucked for sure it was loud and swelled up like a sob. the swelling went down after about a week and i feel fine except my elbow feels funny when my arm is completely outstretched and my arm seems to be cracking and binding up a little but very little pain. its been about 15 days since the injury and im getting a MRI on friday. i did light training about 4 days after and it got aggravated but now i can bench and workout fine so im REALLLLLY itching to get back in there

    question is does it sound like its torn or maybe just sprained it wasn't bent just landed upon, my ROM is like 99% of what it was and the only pain i experience is more of like a tender hurting bruise feeling in the side. it just feels a little shaky when extended fully and thats about it.

    you guys are scaring me talking about months off of training .....
     
  14. SLIMPIMPIN**

    SLIMPIMPIN** Yellow Belt

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    mine was torn and doc recommended surgery but mine feels fine and i have hardly any issues....

    "there is a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament located near the coronoid process of the ulna..contrast is seen extending through the tear with about 5 mm retraction of the edematous ligament margins"

    it also goes on to talk about contrast in certain ares leading them to believe a tear in the flexor tendon


    should i get the surgery or just wing it?
     
  15. RuDOWN4It

    RuDOWN4It Brown Belt

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    Sorry to bump a really old thread. However, can you explain what type of physical therapy you did for the torn UCL?
     
  16. anaconda

    anaconda Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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    It will be mostly stability and ROM type stuff. You could google some exercises but you're better off getting an ortho to examine you to confirm the injury.
     
  17. RuDOWN4It

    RuDOWN4It Brown Belt

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    Thanks. It's already confirmed via MRI, partial tear of the UCL. It's weird since I have no pain when I'm resting still. I have some discomfort when I try to really extend my arm or try to fold my arm all the way. But it's not that bad. So it sounds like you avoided surgery and was able to train again after only 3 months of rest?
     
  18. anaconda

    anaconda Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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    Yup - I wasn't even super rigorous about the PT. And remember, mine was a full rupture after a dislocation (280lb guy fell on top of my outstretched elbow in a tournament).

    It will heal eventually, and the better you treat and more seriously you rehab it the faster and better it will heal. Mine was 5 or 6 years ago so I don't remember the exercises I did, but I also had complete rest for 3 months. Like, zero training. I was studying for the bar and then I went on vacation after taking the test.

    Look up tommy john recovery and you should find a wealth of information. It's the same ligament, so similar motions to heal. But keep in mind TJ surgery involves actually putting something in there to attach the joint, while yours will have to scar over.

    I was the same way - what hurt the most was folding the elbow all the way in, or fully outstretching it. When you go back, tap FAST to armbars and especially americanas, as that specifically attacks that joint. The slightest hyperextension will set you back a couple weeks. Get an elbow brace too and wear it off and on for 2 hours at a time.

    Good luck. But really, as far as injuries go, it's one of the better ones to have especially if it's on your non-dominant hand.
     
  19. RuDOWN4It

    RuDOWN4It Brown Belt

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    Sorry to bump this again. I'm curious as to how long before your arm stopped hurting when you bend/extend? Did the pain go away as you healed or was that a result of PT?
     
  20. anaconda

    anaconda Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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    Honestly I don't remember exactly. It wasn't like an on/off switch. After 3 months, I was good enough to train. I definitely protected my arm though.

    I got injured mid May. I competed again in October that year. But in a competition in April the following year, I got caught in a weird armlock and tweaked it and was out for a couple weeks.

    What I'm saying is that it might bother you for a while. But in general after a few months it should no longer limit your lifestyle.
     

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