Tommy John Surgery

AAC
April 12, 2023

Tommy John surgery, also known as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, is a surgical procedure that is commonly performed on baseball pitchers and other athletes who use their throwing arm frequently. The surgery involves replacing a damaged or torn ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow with a graft tendon from elsewhere in the body.

There are several contributing factors to Tommy John injuries, including:

1. Overuse

Throwing too much or too frequently can lead to stress on the ulnar collateral ligament, which can eventually lead to tears or other damage.

2. Improper Mechanics

Poor throwing mechanics can also contribute to stress on the ulnar collateral ligament.

3. Genetics

Some people may be predisposed to ulnar collateral ligament injuries due to quality of tissue.

4. Strength and Range of Motion Imbalances

Shoulder mechanics, reduced strength and range of motion can increase stress on the medial elbow during throwing, increase risk of experiencing ulnar collateral ligament injuries.

Prevention of Tommy John injuries involves a focus on proper throwing mechanics, limiting throwing volume and intensity, and incorporating strength and conditioning exercises to improve arm strength and flexibility. It's also important to recognize the signs of fatigue and manage throwing loads as needed to prevent overuse injuries. Baseball coaches, Strength & Conditioning Coaches, Physiotherapists, and athletes should work together to develop and implement a comprehensive injury prevention program.

Rehabilitation following Tommy John surgery typically involves a structured program of physical therapy and exercises designed to help the patient regain strength and flexibility in the elbow and arm. The rehabilitation process is approximately 12 months, and the patient will likely need to work closely with a physical therapist and other medical professionals to ensure a successful recovery.

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