SKIER’S THUMB (ULNAR COLLATERAL LIGAMENT INJURY)
There are ligaments which provide stabilization on both side of out finger joints (Collateral ligaments). As a result of damage of collateral ligament which is on the index finger side on the root of the thumb (2. joint from the finger end), skier’s thumb (or Gamakeeper’s thumb) arises. (Figure 1)
Ligaments connect adjacent bones in joint regions.
A force that moves the thumb away from other fingers may cause a tearing in the unlar collateral ligament. Pain, swelling, rush, incapability of clutching movements are signs of this injury. Ice application and non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs will be useful in the early stage.
To understand the injury level and to direct the treatment, physical examination is required first. Swelling, sensibility in thumb collateral ligament area, pain in forcing movements of the finger and more comfortable and excessive out turning thumb are detected symptoms. Abnormal position of the I joint and accompanying a small piece of bone may be considered in the direct graphy. If MRI may be performed, it shows us complete localization and partial or complete laceration.
For partial lacerations, physiotherapy application by doing a splint in a suitable position will be enough. Operation is required in complete lacerations and cases that bone parts are ruptured. Only the arm is narcotized with axillary block anesthesia as in many hand surgeries. Torn ligament is fixed on the ruptured point with the broken part if exists. Physiotherapy is absolutely necessary after the surgery.