Skier’s Thumb Isn’t Just Reserved For Skiers

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The term skier’s thumb stemmed from a common acute injury that affects a specific thumb ligament in skiers. The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the thumb can be partially or entirely ruptured after an injury, including when skiers fall with the ski pole still in hand. Apart from the ligament tear, individuals may suffer from a slight fracture to the bones of the thumb.

City Place Center Surgery Skiers Thumb Why You Should See A Hand Surgeon

Caused by traumatic injury

Skiers know the perils of skier’s thumb all too well. Symptoms of the condition can appear after a traumatic injury to the thumb’s ligaments. Skier’s thumb mainly occurs when the thumb is forcefully and aggressively stretched in an outer direction. Many people develop skier’s thumb after falling onto an outstretched hand.

Avoid worsening of symptoms

Many of skier’s thumb injuries won’t require surgical intervention, but missing symptoms and avoiding treatment can exacerbate the damage to a breaking point. Individuals with skier’s thumb will feel tenderness, bruising, and swelling along the inner aspect of the thumb around the first knuckle. Partial injury can result in a limited range of motion, while a complete tear can lead to an unstable thumb that may appear bent.

Skier’s thumb treatment

Partial rupture of the thumb ligament may require using a cast to limit the range of motion in the affected area. After a few weeks of treatment, patients may undergo some physical therapy to improve range of motion.

Surgical treatment

In cases of complete ruptures or a slow progression that leads to a full tear, surgery may be the best treatment choice. During operation, surgeons will make a one-inch incision along the front and back of the thumb to suture the ligament to itself or a nearby bone. Surgeons may also use screws and wires to fix adjacent bone fractures. After the surgery, a cast is used to immobilize the thumb for a few weeks, after which physical therapy can improve flexibility in the area.

Seek treatment today

The possibility of undergoing surgery can scare off many patients into not seeking treatment. Without receiving treatment, patients can expect a worsening of the injury in the long run. As time passes by without treatment, the chance of a successful surgery diminishes. Patients who have suffered a hand injury should seek treatment from a healthcare provider or hand surgeon.

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