How is an RCL tear treated?
Non-operative treatment methods are the first line of defense to healing an RCL injury. If the ligament has ruptured or the elbow was dislocated during the event of the injury, surgery may be required. For an RCL injury where the ligament was strained or pulled, resting, splinting, medication and physical therapy have high success rates to healing a frayed or stretched RCL. Physical therapy can help restore strength and range of motion of the elbow as well as strengthen muscles surrounding the elbow to alleviate tension on the RCL. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications along with resting and icing the elbow can help manage pain and inflammation. Dr. Williams may recommend immobilizing the elbow at a 90-degree angle with a splint for a few days to facilitate a decrease in symptoms.
Surgery may be necessary for RCL tears of the elbow. Continued functional limitation following an elbow dislocation or RCL rupture may result in the need for RCL reconstruction. Dr. Williams can both repair or reconstruct the RCL to reestablish normal elbow stability and function. This outpatient surgery is highly effective and allows active patients to return to their normal activities after a few months. Recovery time is typically 3-4 months and will require physical therapy to regain the strength and range of motion of the elbow.