Dr. James Carr from HSS Florida on the Epidemic of the UCL Tear & Tommy John's Surgery in the MLB
“The baseball throwing motion is probably unnatural and stressful motion you can do to the elbow. Especially that ulnar collateral ligament," said Dr. Carr.
“There are sports that don't require as strong as a UCL. Unfortunately, baseball is one of them where you have to have robust, strong UCL, or the body can't hold up to the stresses of throwing 90 plus miles an hour,” explained Dr. Carr.
When it comes to Tommy John Surgery, “What we are trying to do is restore a strong ligament to the inside of the elbow. Typically, with the classic Tommy John Surgery, we take a tendon from elsewhere. So if there is an extra tendon in the wrist or we take a hamstring tendon and create a new ligament for the elbow,” said Dr. Carr.
“Teaching pitchers how to pitch and not necessarily just go for velocity is important. Really strengthening the shoulder and elbow is important. A lot of pitchers try to use weighted baseballs to increase velocity. That has been shown to increase the risk of injury, so focusing more on mechanics using your lower extremities, trying to make sure your elbow is supported throughout your mechanics is important. Keeping a strong shoulder and elbow to support the ligaments is important. Those things have been shod to help reduce the risk of injuries, but we still haven't found that magic key, but hopefully in the next few years, we will have more information there,” explained Dr. Carr.
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