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Skier’s Thumb


Symptoms Checklist:

  • The pain began suddenly
  • You fell on the outstretched thumb or got a blow to the thumb
  • The thumb is swollen and painful
  • The pain is at the base of the thumb near the palm
  • Your thumb is sore to move
  • It is painful to hold anything with the thumb

Skier’s Thumb

This painful condition is caused by over-stretching the thumb.  As the thumb is forced backwards toward the wrist, the ligament over-stretches and causes pain.  Ligament connects bone to bone and keeps joints stable.  If it is over stretched the joint becomes loose.  The repair to a damaged ligament is always slow because of poor blood supply to the area.  Other tissue like scar tissue grows much more quickly and your body will use this to replace the damaged part of the ligament.  Scar tissue is not nearly as efficient as the original ligament.  Without effective therapy the thumb may never fully recover.

Physical Therapy/Osteopathy and Skier’s Thumb

Your Therapist plays the crucial role in returning the thumb to full health.  In extreme cases the joint may be immobilised for up to 6 weeks depending on the damage done. Immediately the plaster is removed, the Therapist will work to reduce swelling and increase circulation in the joint.  They will gently work to restore the flexibility to the thumb by taking it through its range of movement.  As the soreness eases, they will introduce more vigorous exercise.  You will also be shown exercises you can do, that will help strengthen the muscles. In some cases a weakened or damaged ligament can be compensated for by strengthening the surrounding muscles. The therapist will assess you recovery, ensuring that your exercise regime is appropriate to your stage of the recovery process.

Tags: Hands, Thumbs, Ligaments, sprained, Ligament Sprain, Skiers Thumb, Sports Injuries

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