Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Medical Biophysics

Supervisor

Dr. Graham J. W. King

2nd Supervisor

Dr. James A. Johnson

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

Elbow lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injuries frequently arise following trauma, and can result in disabling instability. Typically such injuries are managed with immobilization followed by a graduated exercise regime; however there is minimal biomechanical evidence to support current treatment protocols. This investigation examines the in vitro effectiveness of several rehabilitation techniques using a custom elbow motion simulator. It was found that active range of motion is safest in the overhead position (n = 7). Early motion in this position may reduce the incidence of elbow stiffness without compromising ligament healing following LCL injury. Forearm pronation and active motion stabilize the LCL-deficient elbow, while varus positioning worsens instability. It was also found that a hinged elbow orthosis did not significantly improve in vitro elbow stability following LCL injury (n = 7). However, such orthoses may be useful in keeping the forearm in the more stable pronated position. Future research directions are proposed, with suggestions on applying this methodology to other elbow injuries.