Torn UCL, what would you do? (long read, sorry)

So i’m at a cross roads here.

I tore my UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) in mid December… it was diagnosed in mid January. I sought out 2 other opinions from my primary orthopedist, including a specialist who trained under Dr. Andrews in the 1990’s.

I decided to go with the specialists advice, and tried to rehab it to see how it would heal over. So far i’ve done approx. 2 months of PT following all of the protocols and guidelines of the physical therapist. The physical therapist is a throwing specialist who was recommended by the orthopedist.

I have just started the actual return to throwing part of the rehab process, which starts with medicine balls for about 2 weeks, then getting into a real baseball. The first medicine ball toss is with two hands, from the side of my head forward to a partner with a 3-4 lb medicine ball. While throwing, I am experiencing slight discomfort, but not severe. After throwing the elbow aches. This is supposed to be done every day.

On top of the throwing program, i have a number of stretches to be done everyday, and have recently started a slight restricted “Throwers Ten” program.

Most of the tube work in the throwers ten gives me no pain in the elbow, but there are a few exercises in the program i have been instructed to do that do give me moderate discomfort in the elbow. These exercises are done with light weights, and include: Shoulder Abduction to 90 degrees, prone horizontal abduction (neutral), and Elbow flexion, better known as “curls”.

The curls only give discomfort now and then, but sometimes i experience a locking sensation of the the joint, and i have to wiggle my arm a bit to free it.

My appointment with the orthopedist is April 7th, and i don’t want to go there with nothing to say, and no opinion on whether or not PT is working, because i have a feeling if i go there and not tell him much of anything, he will say something like “I’ll see you back in two months so we can decide whether or not PT is working”. However these two months, are two months i DO NOT have to waste if i am going to have surgery. I’m a sophomore in high school, and am already going to miss my sophomore year… if i have the surgery done any later than the end of April, or beginning of May i feel i might be seriously jeopardizing my Junior season because of the time it can/does take to rehab Tommy John surgery. You don’t even start throwing a ball until 8 months in, which puts me at February, you are not expected to be able to return to full competition until 10-12 months… which puts me halfway into/past my JR. year… never mind being able to prepare and get ready for the upcoming season in the baseball off season (december, january, febuary, etc.)

I have this big fear in the back of my mind that rehabbing it without surgery is not going to work properly and giving it all this time could put next season at serious risk… but then again i don’t know for sure that rehab won’t work either.

You have to understand that i don’t take the idea of surgery lightly at all… i’m a three sport athlete and it’s taking to of them completely out of the picture (football and basketball) for my Jr. year… but it is something that i am willing to do if deemed necessary for my main sport, which is baseball. It also is taking a serious toll on my mind, because when i went to go see this orthopedist, i was not aware that rehabbing without surgery was even a serious option, and was thinking i was all set to go and ready to have surgery. This is mostly because of what the orthopedists before him told me which was; “If you want to ever be able to pitch seriously again, you’re going to need surgery, I can tell you that right now.”

Anyways- sorry for rambling, but what should I do?

I am currently in the same exact situation, except the sport is boxing. I tore my ucl 2months ago sparring. Been resting, icing, compressing, heat patch. Still doesnt feel right, it still hurts if i make contact with a left hook. The doctor told me the same thing. I need to get back in the gym ASAP to train for fights and a tournament next year. What did you end up doing with your elbow? did you get the surgery? how long did it take to recover?