Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Medical Biophysics


Dr. Graham J. W. King & Dr. James A. Johnson


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.