Question: What is skier’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.

What causes skier’s thumb?

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.

How long does it take for skiers thumb to heal?

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.

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.

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What is gamekeeper’s thumb and how should it be treated?

Nonoperative treatment can be considered for partial tears (grade I or grade II) of the UCL, which usually involve an isolated rupture of the proper collateral portion of the ligament. This may be treated with immobilization in a thumb spica-type cast for 4 weeks.

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 do you check for a torn UCL in your thumb?

The UCL is tested by first holding the MCP in extension and applying valgus stress to the phalanx. The same is done with the MCP in 30 degrees of flexion.

What does a partially 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.

What happens if a broken thumb goes untreated?

Failure to treat a broken thumb can often result in arthritis or breaking down of the joint. This can cause chronic pain, stiffness, and swelling.

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.

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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 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.

Is thumb surgery painful?

Thumb surgical reconstruction can be painful. You will receive a prescription for narcotic pain medicine. For the first 2-3 days, take the pain medication around the clock to stay on top of the pain control.

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.

Why is it called gamekeepers thumb?

Gamekeeper’s thumb is an insufficiency of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint of the thumb. Campbell originally coined the term in 1955 because the condition was most commonly associated with Scottish gamekeepers (especially rabbit keepers) as a work-related injury.

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