Cutting-Edge Surgical Treatments for Sports-Related Elbow Injuries in Pittsburgh, PA
A board-certified orthopedic surgeon who practices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Christopher C. Schmidt, MD, is nationally recognized as a top elbow specialist. Dr. Schmidt regularly contributes to online course webinars devoted to the surgical treatment of sports-related elbow injuries. These webinars, which are sponsored by major professional organizations such as The Arthroscopic Association of North America (AANA) and The American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES), are dedicated to advancing the specialty by helping surgeons across the United States master elbow arthroscopy techniques with the support of seasoned expert faculty.
Sports-related elbow injuries that may be treated arthroscopically include:
Tommy John Injuries
Commonly seen in athletes who participate in sports involving repetitive overhead arm movements, such as baseball, football, gymnastics, tennis, volleyball, and javelin throwing, Tommy John injuries affect a ligament on the inner (medial) side of the elbow. Also known as a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), the injury is nicknamed after Tommy John, a major league baseball pitcher who was the first patient to undergo UCL reconstruction surgery (“Tommy John” surgery) and successfully return to his sport.
Distal Biceps Ruptures
Usually caused by heavy lifting, a distal biceps rupture occurs when the tendon that secures the biceps muscle to the radius bone in the forearm tears away from its attachment site. The force of lifting causes the elbow to straighten, even though the biceps muscle is working hard to keep the joint bent. As tension on the muscle and tendon increases, the distal biceps tendon can tear. In some cases, surgical repair may be considered to prevent tendon retraction and restore arm strength.
Triceps Tendon Tears
A torn triceps tendon usually results from a fall onto an outstretched arm, where abrupt force causes the elbow to bend while the triceps muscle is simultaneously contracting in an effort to straighten it. While the powerful triceps muscle can sustain some of the force, the triceps tendon—which attaches the triceps muscle to the tip of the elbow—may rupture if it is unable to withstand the pressure. A complete rupture may require surgical treatment, particularly in an athlete who wishes to return to play at his or her prior level of competition.
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
Frequently diagnosed in young athletes who participate in certain sports, such as gymnastics and baseball, OCD of the elbow is a loss of blood supply to a portion of the joint cartilage. If the damaged cartilage remains in place or only partially tears, the injury may heal on its own with minimal discomfort. However, if a cartilage fragment tears away, it may become lodged within the joint. Surgery may be considered to relieve the associated pain and restore function to the elbow.
If you would like to explore your treatment options for a sports-related elbow injury, contact Dr. Schmidt’s office in Pittsburgh, PA, to set up a consultation.