Rehabilitation After Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction
Physical therapy often begins shortly after surgery to help restore strength and movement of the arm and elbow, and allow patients to gradually resume their regular activities. Initial physical therapy treatments may include ice, electrical stimulation and massage, to help control pain and swelling. As the healing begins, exercises focus on improving the strength and control of the elbow joint, the forearm, and shoulder muscles. Treatment may initially begin with gradual and gentle stretching activities and may progress to include:
- Muscle strengthening exercises
- Elbow extension exercises
- Range of motion exercises
The physical therapist may also make suggestions to patients about how to perform activities and exercises without endangering the area of repair.
Patients must be fully committed to a rehabilitation program to successfully regain full range of motion of the arm and elbow. Most patients return to regular activities about 6 months after surgery, while athletes may require up to a year of rehabilitation before returning to competitive sports