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Josh Allen's Elbow Injury: Effects of Physical Therapy on UCL Tears

Josh Allen's Elbow Injury: The Impact of Physical Therapy

Last year, The Bills had quite a season. With so many ups and downs, we were all on the edge of our seat watching our team fight through the season. Among those amazing wins, and terrifying losses, our team was also struck with a multitude of injuries and health scares. Starting with Josh Allen, we are taking a closer look at each of our favorite team members’ injuries, and learning a little bit more about them. 

Josh Allen’s Injury 

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills quarterback, played the second half of last season with an elbow injury. He sustained a partially torn UCL on his throwing arm. He endured associated tendon and muscle injuries in the Buffalo Bills’ loss to the New York Jets. Health experts believe that Allen only needs rest and routine treatment to recover fully.

Allen’s injury was initially reported as a sprained elbow. The medical team assessed him for nerve damage and UCL after the game. The elbow injury wasn’t as critical as the earlier UCL sprain that made him miss a few games as a rookie. However, the injury and the brace altered his mechanics and made some throws more challenging.

Elbow Injury 101: What Is UCL?

The Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) is the elbow’s primary stabilizer during throwing motion. When people talk about a UCL injury, baseball pitchers are usually the first athletes that come to mind. Pitchers often sustain a UCL injury because of repetitive stress that causes damage.

Allen’s case is different since his injury was caused by a particular event. In acute injury cases, UCL sprains have great results. The UCL ligament’s primary role is maintaining the elbow’s stability during throwing. However, there are several variations between throwing a baseball and a football. These differences originate from the weight variations between the balls. Unlike a pitcher, a quarterback would experience lower angular velocities because the heavier football alters the throwing motion. Each of these factors minimizes the UCL ligament’s stress levels.

Although other risks are associated with playing with a UCL injury, the elbow’s stability is crucial. Allen endured nerve symptoms following his elbow injury. Since the ulnar nerve lies above the UCL ligament, damage to the elbow’s inside can also affect the nerve.

Recovering from an Elbow Injury with Physical Therapy

Pitchers and other athletes initially considered elbow injuries like the UCL tear to be career-ending injuries… but not all hope is lost! Athletic trainers and physicians can now diagnose and treat such injuries to allow for a full recovery.

If you’ve suffered a UCL injury and wish to return to sports, consider physical therapy like Josh Allen. Your BC + PT physical therapist may help you improve how far you can stretch your elbow and shoulder, or will help you slowly bend and straighten your throwing arm through different stretching techniques and exercises. They’ll also consider shoulder stretches to help reduce stress across your elbow.

Going to see a physical therapist can improve your arm’s strength or range of motion, as long as you follow their personalized exercise plan set out for you and go to all of your appointments. Your treatment could even include a few other modalities as well. The workouts will focus more on your upper back and shoulder blade muscles later in your recovery.

Physical therapy can also enhance the strength and coordination of the actual muscles involved in your sport. Your exercises will become more tailored to your sport or activity later in your recovery. Choosing to heal and get back in the game is always a good choice. And who knows, maybe with enough time and practice, and enough PT appointments with BC + PT, you could be throwing the football around again just like everyone’s favorite Bills’ quarterback!

If you’re thinking about rehabilitating your elbow injury- stop waiting and start healing! Give us a call or fill out our contact form TODAY to get the care you deserve. Our BC + PT therapists are waiting for you!


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