- Wrist & Hand
Skier's / Gamekeeper's Thumb
Strong ligaments running along either side of the thumb help stabilize the small joints of this digit. They can be injured when a sudden force is applied across the thumb, either spraining or rupturing the ligaments. Historically this injury was found in gamekeepers due to the manual nature of their job (hence "Gamekeeper's Thumb"), but in recent times has been more commonly referred to as "Skier's Thumb" due to the tendency of the ligament to rupture when the hand is placed out to protect the limb during fall. This name is associated with a more acute injury as opposed to one that occurs over time due to chronic, repetitive motions.
In cases where the ligament has been sprained, simple plaster cast immobilization is sufficient to allow healing. However, if the ligament is completely ruptured, it must be repaired surgically to restore its integrity. Without stabilization, pinch grip will be compromised. Operative repair is performed as a day case procedure through a small incision on the side of the thumb. The ligament is reconstructed with sutures (stitches ) and supported with small anchors that help secure the repair.