About Thumb Sprains, Skier’s Thumb and Texting Thumb
Thumb stability is critical to daily function and use of the hand. The stability of the thumb joints comes from tension on tendons, articular anatomy and ligaments. Ligaments are bone-to-bone connective tissues that stabilize a joint. A sprain is when one or multiple of the ligaments are partially or completely torn.
These tears are often a result of a fall where the thumb is violently pulled from the remaining fingers of the hand. These ligaments may also degenerate over time. Symptoms of a sprained thumb can include weakness in your ability to grasp items between your thumb and index finger, or swelling at the thumb joints.
One particular type of thumb sprain involves the MCP UCL ligament and is particularly troublesome to patients. Depending on the context of the injury, it has several names, including gamekeeper’s thumb, texting thumb, or skier’s thumb.
Diagnosis of a sprain can usually be done by having a doctor examine the thumb and perform manipulation. X-ray is often useful to see if any joint or bone damage has occurred. In the case of a partial tear of a thumb ligament, the treatment is often immobilization with a splint or cast, allowing the ligament to heal itself. If the ligament is fully torn or pulled away from the bone, then surgery may be the best treatment option. Thumb sprains that are ignored can often lead to long term weakness, instability and arthritis, and may need surgery to correct these complications.
Contact us today for an appointment if you are experiencing pain from a thumb sprain or related thumb injury.