Seasonal and monthly trends in elbow ulnar collateral ligament injuries and surgeries: a national epidemiological study

James B. Carr, Lauren Wilson, Spencer W. Sullivan, Jashvant Poeran, Jiabin Liu, Stavros G. Memtsoudis, Benedict U. Nwachukwu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Monthly incidence of elbow ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injuries and surgeries is relatively unknown. Defining seasonal peaks of UCL injuries and surgeries may identify opportunities for injury-prevention strategies. The purpose of this study is to analyze seasonal and monthly variations in UCL injuries and surgeries across the United States with emphasis on the timing of baseball season. Methods: The Truven Health MarketScan database (2013-2015) was queried for patients younger than 40 years with a diagnosis code of elbow UCL sprain and a procedural code for UCL repair or reconstruction. Differences in patient characteristics were evaluated using chi-square and Mann-Whitney U-tests. Negative binomial regression models were calculated for UCL injuries and surgeries to assess monthly trends. Results: UCL injuries were sustained by 13,894 patients, with 1404 (10.1%) patients having undergone surgery. The median age at first diagnosis was 17 years, and the median age of patients requiring surgery decreased from 20 to 18 years from 2013 to 2015 (P = .75). Most UCL injuries (n = 3785) and surgeries (n = 438) occurred during the spring season (March 21-June 20), and spring injuries were most likely to result in surgical management (11.6%). During the baseball season (March to September), the number of UCL injuries peaked in April/May, then declined, except for a second peak in September/October (incidence rate ratio 0.97; confidence interval 0.95, 0.99; P = .01). The number of UCL surgeries steadily increased from March (n = 116) to June (n = 152), followed by a gradual decline (incidence rate ratio 1.00; confidence interval 0.96, 1.04; P = .99). Conclusion: Athletes frequently experienced UCL injuries and surgeries in the early months (April-June) of the baseball season. More emphasis should be paid to rehabilitative strategies at the beginning of a baseball season to help mitigate injury risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
JournalJSES Reviews, Reports, and Techniques
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Baseball
  • Elbow
  • Epidemiology
  • Injury prevention
  • Level III
  • Retrospective Database Study
  • Sport injury
  • Ulnar collateral ligament


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