Ulnar collateral ligament injury of the thumb occurs when the thumb is overstretched away from the hand causing a sprain, partial or full tear to the ligament. Normally the ligament helps stabilize the thumb, therefore injury to it causes instability and pain.
Injury to this ligament can occur after a single forceful incident (such as being hit by a ball or fall onto thumb).
This can be called Skiers Thumb. Named after the injury that occurs from a fall with a ski pole in hand. The ligament can also be damaged due to ongoing overuse of the thumb, often referred to as Gamekeepers Thumb.
Symptoms may include pain and swelling around the side of the thumb closest to the fingers. The thumb may feel weak and unstable when it is loaded during pinch or gripping activities.
A hand therapist can fabricate a custom made orthosis to support and immobilize the thumb to allow healing of the ligament, followed by exercises aimed at regaining movement and strength.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, book an appointment.