Medial Epicondylitis to town UCL?

Hey everyone, I’m 16, Junior in high school and play 3rd, 1st and I pitch. Last year I was diagnosed with medial epicondylitis and a micro tear in my ligament and was told not to throw for 6 weeks. I waited 6 weeks then slowly worked back to my full velocity. My arm starting hurting again but I played through it during high school ball and during summer ball. We are now starting to do pitching and other things and the pain is back. So could me having medial epicondylitis affect my UCL?

Listen to your body!!! When I was 16 in my junior year my elbow was constantly in pain (medial epicondylitis). I was also a Pitcher and 3B, my pain was so bad it affected every throw and I was unable to pitch effectively. I was ultimately cut from the team (coach told me to take the year off). I was devastated but made it through the year. I came back and pitched my senior year, went on to pitch 2 years in Junior College and another 2 years at a DII state college. Those were 4 of the best years of my “baseball” life. Don’t push it, get to a doctor and follow his advise. If I had never sat out my Junior year I may have never played again and missed out on those 4 years of college ball. I am 55 and things have changed a great deal since 1978 in sports medicine but don’t mess around and get 1 or 2 educated opinions. When you get to my age you won’t remember your junior year in high school. Those college years were some of the best. Good luck! Hopefully it’s just 1 year off like I had.

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Assuming that injury was to the UCL, and given you have played through it with continuing pain for the past year, I suspect you have an injured UCL. You need to stop all throwing and see an orthopedic surgeon trained in sports medicine.

See an orthopedic surgeon and get internal diagnostics.

See that’s the problem… I was never told what ligament it was or how bad of shape it was in so I don’t know if it is my UCL or not. Though after doing some research it most likely is because I have been pitching since 8 years old. And played year round baseball until about 2 years ago when I started high school.

The medial epicondyle and UCL are two different matters. When you are young, the growth plate at the medial epicondyle is not fused. This is the weakest link in the arm, and so it is this growth plate that gets injured first - usually inflamed, a fracture, or an avulsion. This is what they call “Little League Elbow”. Since the growth plate at the medial epicondyle is weaker than the UCL, the growth plate almost always is what gives out first, not the UCL. As you enter your teens, your growth plates start closing. When the growth plate at the medial epicondyle closes - the age varies - the UCL becomes the weakest link in the arm, and it becomes the source of injury. This is why you almost never see torn UCLs in 10-12 year olds - their growth plates give out first. The youngest UCL tear (and Tommy John surgery) I know of was in a 13 year old my son played with. He was an early developer, so presumably his growth plate at the medial epicondyle was closed by 13.

Well I got X-rays last year and they said my growth plates were fully closed. But I’m confused as to what he meant when he said I have medial epicondylitis and a micro tear. He never told me where the micro tear was and it is bothering me since I have the pain back this year.

UCL injuries need to be diagnosed with MRI, not just x-rays. The “medial epicondylitis” could have been inflammation of the pronator muscle tendons attached to the medial epicondyle. Also, “medial epicondylitis” is a term sometimes used by medical personnel who aren’t sure what the problem is.

It does not appear to me that you were thoroughly or accurately diagnosed. You need to (1) stop throwing, (2) see an orthopedic surgeon trained in sports medicine, and (3) not throw again until said orthopedic surgeon clears you to throw.

You can ask Dr. Fleisig of ASMI to recommend an orthopedic surgeon in your area. Dr. Fleisig’s contact info is here: