Skier’s thumb is most often caused by a fall on an outstretched hand. Skiers tend to get this injury, which is how the condition gets its name. But the injury can also occur as the result of any activity or accident that forces your thumb into an extreme position.
How does skier’s thumb happen?
Skier’s Thumb Causes
A fall on an outstretched hand with a ski pole in the palm of your hand creates the force necessary to stress the thumb and stretch or tear the ligament. A simple fall on an outstretched hand with an empty palm usually does not create this same force.
Does skier’s thumb require surgery?
It helps keep your thumb stable when grasping or pinching objects. With skier’s thumb, the ligament is stretched or torn (sprained). This can cause pain and can limit movement and use of the thumb. You may need surgery to repair or reconstruct the ligament and restore function.
How do you prevent skier’s thumb?
Preventing Skier’s Thumb
If you fall holding an object like a ski pole or something similar, make a conscious effort to let go of the object you are holding to avoid landing on it. When driving a car, be cautious of putting your thumbs on the inside of the steering wheel.
How do you check for a torn UCL in your thumb?
You may have bruising, tenderness, and swelling around the base of your thumb, near the palm. If the ulnar collateral ligament is completely torn, the end of the ruptured ligament may cause a lump or swelling on the inside of the thumb. Your thumb joint may also feel loose or unstable.
Is skier’s thumb painful?
With skier’s thumb, the ligament is stretched or torn (sprained). This can cause pain. It can also limit movement and use of the thumb. Depending on how severe the injury is, it may take a few weeks or longer for the thumb to heal.
Can a torn thumb UCL heal itself?
By immobilizing the damaged ligament, healing can take place while the thumb will be protected from further injury. If the injury to the ulnar collateral ligament is more chronic, then it is likely that a direct repair will not be possible.
How long does it take to recover from UCL thumb surgery?
What is the recovery time? UCL repair surgery is an outpatient procedure and patients go home the same day. Most wear a soft splint for the first week and then spend four to six weeks in a cast to allow the ligament to heal. Rehabilitation with a certified hand therapist helps regain strength and stability.
How long does thumb ligament surgery take?
With traditional surgery, the ligament is sutured, and the thumb is immobilized in a cast for four to six weeks. “Athletes particularly dislike being in casts, and on top of that they can’t return to play for sometimes up to 10-12 weeks,” Shin notes. Internal brace augmentation cuts that time in half or less.
How long does gamekeeper’s thumb take to heal?
Treatment Options for Gamekeeper’s Thumb
Splints that stabilize and immobilize the thumb and/or wrist are required to facilitate healing and are generally worn for 4 to 6 weeks to allow adequate healing to take place.
What is a skiers thumb?
What is Skier’s/Gamekeeper’s thumb? Skier’s thumb, also known as Gamekeeper’s thumb, is an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), which is located in the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint where the thumb meets the hand. The purpose of the UCL is to keep the thumb stable in order to pinch objects.
What is the tendon in your thumb called?
Two major tendons — the extensor pollicis brevis and abductor pollicis longus tendons — connect the thumb to the forearm, passing through the fibrous sheath at the wrist (see the illustration).
How do you treat gamekeepers thumb?
Treatment of Skier’s/Gamekeeper’s Thumb (UCL Tear)
Surgery may be a first-line treatment option if the UCL tear is severe and involves accessing the torn ligament via small incisions, then cleaning the damaged tissue, and then anchoring the tissue to the ligament attached to the thumb bone for added support.
What does a torn UCL feel like?
Pain on the inner side of the elbow is the most common symptom of a UCL injury. A UCL tear may sometimes feel like a “pop” after throwing followed by intense pain. UCL injuries are diagnosed by physical examination and a valgus stress test to assess instability of the elbow.
Is UCL thumb surgery painful?
Most patients have minimal pain by 6 weeks after surgery, with nearly full thumb and hand motion by 3 months. Your symptoms will continue to improve by working in therapy. It is important that you consistently work with your therapist to optimize motion and strength after surgery.