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Skier's Thumb

Skier's Thumb Overview

Skier's thumb is an injury of the soft tissue that connects the bones of the thumb together. In medical terms, this soft tissue is called a ligament.

This injury was originally noted in 1955 as a chronic ligament problem seen in Scottish gamekeepers who damaged their thumbs by repeatedly twisting the necks of hares. The injury was termed the "gamekeeper's thumb" at that time. The popularity of recreational downhill skiing has caused this injury to become much more common in the U.S.; as a result, the term gamekeeper's thumb was replaced with the more contemporary term, skier's thumb.

Skier's thumb now accounts for a significant number of skiing injuries. In severe cases, with complete tearing of the ligament, this injury must be surgically repaired. The ultimate stability of the ligament is important because of its contribution to the grasping function of the thumb.

People with skier's thumb may be able to return to work and even skiing in a short period with proper rehabilitation.

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Skier's Thumb - Causes

What was the cause of your skier's thumb?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Skier's Thumb »

Injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the thumb were first recognized as an occupational condition in European gamekeepers.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary