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Skier's Thumb (cont.)

Skier's Thumb Treatment

If the doctor determines that the patient has a skier's thumb, then referral to an orthopedic or hand surgeon will be the next step in care. The orthopedic surgeon will determine when the thumb needs to be reexamined. At that time, the patien'ts options for surgical versus nonsurgical therapy will be discussed.

Typically, partial injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament are immobilized for several weeks, while complete rupture of the ligament usually requires surgical repair.

Skier's Thumb Surgery

If the patient elects to have surgery, then operative exploration and ligament repair using a "suture anchor" will most likely be performed. After the operation, the hand may be placed in a lightweight cast to hold the thumb still while the ligament heals. The patient will have to remain in this cast for some time based on the orthopedic surgeon's preferences, although some surgeons now advocate early gentle motion.

If the patient has an associated fracture with skier's thumb, then it may be treated with a modified cast. Surgical stabilization of the fracture might be needed if a piece of bone has broken off in an unacceptable place.

Skier's Thumb Follow-up

The orthopedic surgeon will see the patient after surgical repair or after a period of immobilization in a cast. The patient's thumb will be reexamined. The doctor will decide if the patient need to continue to immobilize the thumb or if physical therapy is needed to regain movement. The remainder of the rehabilitation and the management of any chronic problems that may arise from the injury will be addressed by your orthopedic or hand surgeon.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/25/2016
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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 »

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