CNY Orthopedic Sports Medicine, PC: Injury: Skier's Thumb

Injuries and Conditions: Hand : Skier's Thumb

Overview
Skier's thumb commonly refers to a torn or sprained ulnar collateral ligament in the thumb. The ligament runs along the inside of the base of the thumb and assists in grasping, pinching and stabilizing.
  • Injuries can range in severity from a partial to a complete tear.
  • The term skier's thumb is used because it refers to a situation where a person falls holding something in his or her hand. A person holding a ski pole cannot break a fall with the palm of his or her hand and often lands on the tip of the thumb, forcing the thumb beyond its limits of motion.
  • Symptoms may or may not occur immediately.
  • A doctor's diagnosis may include X-rays of both the injured and uninjured thumbs for comparative purposes.
  • Common treatment for a partial tear includes the immobilization of the thumb with a splint or cast.
  • A complete tear may require surgery to repair the ligament and replace or remove bone that may have fragmented when the ligament ruptured.
  • Surgery is followed by 6-8 weeks in a cast or splint.


  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Inability to grasp items between the thumb and forefinger.
  • Bruising, tenderness, and swelling.
  • Pain may present itself immediately following the injury.
  • Increased looseness (laxity) or side-to-side motion at the base of the thumb.
     
  • Contact the Doctor if ...
  • The patient has the signs and symptoms of skier's thumb.
  • After treatment, the patient experiences increasing pain or weakness in the thumb.
  • The patient experiences unexplained symptoms, other types of pain, or unexpected side effects from medication.


  • Common Causes of Injury
  • Skier's thumb may result from falling while holding something in the hand.
  • This injury is most commonly associated with falling while holding a ski pole.


  • Expectations of Recovery
  • Patients can expect a full recovery following treatment.
  • Recovery from a partial tear is 4-6 weeks. Consisting of initial complete immobilization, followed by a gradual increase in activity.
  • With a complete tear, the patient can anticipate six to eight weeks in a cast prior to beginning strengthening and rehabilitation exercises.


     

  • Anatomy
    Arthroscopic Surgery
    Few advances in surgical techniques have been as beneficial as the development of arthroscopic surgery. An arthroscopic procedure greatly reduces...

    Baseball Finger
    Every year when the baseball season gets underway, doctors start seeing cases of "baseball finger."

     

    SUPER PRINTThis button will format a page that will allow you to user your browser's print function to print all information associated with this condition.
     
    This website and its content may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission