About this disease
What it concerns
The medical term for the injury is "ulnar collateral ligament rupture" or "ulnar collateral ligament rupture at the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb". The ski thumb is caused by a fall on the hand with the thumb splayed out and simultaneous bending of the proximal phalanx of the thumb to the radial side.
In a minor injury, the ulnar collateral ligament is merely overstretched. In the case of a more severe injury, the ligament tears, causing the joint to hinge open. In this case, the injury is also referred to as instability. Another type of injury is the collateral ligament injury with bony avulsion at the attachment site of the ligament.
Symptoms and consequences
Pain occurs mainly locally in the thumb, often with simultaneous swelling. Functional limitations and instability are possible consequences.
How we can help you
Examination and diagnosis
Typical of a rupture of the ulnar collateral ligament is that pressure on the ulnar side of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb causes pain. Clinical testing for stability may be immediate or may take several days, depending on the extent of the pain. First, an x-ray should be taken to rule out a bony tear of the collateral ligament. An MRI is required to see a stenosis lesion where the torn ligament is entrapped and in the wrong position.
In the case of a lateral ligament injury with overstretching, but without instability at the base joint of the thumb, conservative treatment with a splint is possible. Undisplaced bony avulsion of the collateral ligament can also be treated with a splint. However, if the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb can be clearly opened or if there is a displaced bony avulsion of the collateral ligament or a stener lesion, the injury should be treated surgically after swelling has subsided.