What Is Skiers Thumb (Sprained Thumb)?
A sprained thumb is a common cause of thumb pain and is often referred to as skiers thumb, although it doesn’t just occur in skiers. It can occur whenever there is a forceful movement of the thumb away from the hand, in skiing this commonly happens due to the position of the ski poles when the person falls. In this injury there is a sprain of the ulna collateral ligament in the thumb, a ligament which is important for stabilizing the thumb.
Common sports that can cause this injury:
Common Signs & Symptoms
Following this injury the common symptoms are:
- Pain and swelling around the base of the thumb
- Pain on gripping
- A weak grip
What should be done following this injury:
- Consult your Doctor or go to the Emergency Room
- Elevate the arm to reduce the pain and swelling in the thumb
- Use ice or a reusable cold pack to reduce pain and swelling (the recommended time is 10 minutes on with 1 hour off). Never apply ice directly to the skin.
Depending on how severe the injury will determine how this injury is managed. Severe sprains may require surgery to repair the damaged ligament. Minor sprains may need to be put in POP for several weeks to allow the ligament to heal. You will then need to see a chartered physiotherapist who can advise you on how to regain full movement and strength in the thumb and hand. You may find a thumb brace helpful to reduce pain and provide support. These may also be used when you want to return to sport and want to protect the thumb.