What is Gamekeeper’s/Skier’s Thumb, how can it occur, and what are the symptoms?
Gamekeeper’s & Skier’s Thumb both refer to an injury of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of thumb where it comes in contact with the bones of the hand. This ligament allows the thumb to maintain stability while going through pinching, grabbing, and throwing motions of different balls & objects in sports. The UCL can tear as a result of a fall or from repetitive trauma to the thumb.
Skier’s Thumb refers to an injury to the UCL that commonly occurs during skiing accidents when a person doesn’t let go of their ski pole while falling to the ground.
Gamekeeper’s Thumb refers to the degeneration of this ligament from repeated stress found in sports such as football, rugby, or a goalie in soccer where the thumb is repeatedly drawn away from the index finger. This motion causes a thinning of this ligament that can lead to potential tears.
While surgery may be necessary in order to return to play after obtaining an injury to the UCL of the thumb, there are exercises to relieve the pain, gain back strength, and potentially prevent.
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