Identifying, Treating Skier’s Thumb

An Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) injury is better known as skier’s thumb. It is identified as an injury, tear, or other damage done to the soft tissue connecting the bones of the thumb that provide stability to the thumb joint. Many skiers experience this injury while partaking in the sport. 

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), “A partial or complete rupture of the ulnar collateral ligament of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb, skier’s thumb, is an often-encountered problem. It concerns 86% of all injuries to the base of the thumb. The estimated incidence in the US is approximately 200,000 patients per year. The incidence in the Netherlands is not known. In the last four years, we have diagnosed approximately 85 patients in our own hospital.” 

When the ligament on the inside portion of the thumb joint is torn from the bone, the pinch strength of the thumb is affected. It often takes place with a dislocation or pulling outward of the thumb. 

To diagnose skier’s thumb, specialists analyze the patient history and perform a thorough exam. Patients often report a thumb injury where it was pulled backward or to the side. Swelling is also present, combined with the thumb ligament showing instability. X-rays are typically performed t

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