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October 30, 2007

Skier's Thumb Update

OK, so we know that I have a thumb problem. Dr's office said it was a fracture. Almost certain it was a UCL tear and going to require surgery.

Well, good news. It isn't a fracture. It is a tear, but not a complete tear, meaning no surgery. Plus it is already a month and a half since the injury so it is already healed enough that doing an MRI isn't worth it right now. We know it is injured. The joint is now stable enough that it will probably heal.

Here are the options:

  • Immobilize it completely or a short period of time to make sure if finishes healing.
  • Splint it when I am using it to reduce the possibility of further damage.
  • Physical Therapy to strengthen it and increase range of motion.

I told my Ortho that I am an avid skier and his jaw dropped. There is not a worse thing I can do with this injury. I am going with the latter two options and the doctor recommended a custom splint to use while skiing. There is still a pretty significant chance that skiing may reinjure it, but the good news is that this season is saved.

I was so prepared for the worst. This turned out infinitely better than the alternative.

Posted by Justin at October 30, 2007 04:18 PM


I had that injury about 5 years ago (UCL tear). I wore a soft cast and couldn't use a ski pole for 5 weeks. It was actually really good for my skiing, no poles and precise movements.

I taught lots of low level classes, and a few of my long time privates had fun watching me, then skiing without poles.

When you are back and healthy, most of the high friction steeps should be covered.

all the best friend,

Posted by: Jon Lawson at October 31, 2007 08:45 AM

Justin, having had a similar situation three years ago. Changing a few bits in my routine I found that helped me. As Jon says, don't use poles as the season starts. Yeah it sucks to not hit the fun challenging terrain, but it sucks more to be ended before the season even begins.

The big change that helped me was immobilizing my hand at night while sleeping. Bracing yourself while you sleep limits your ability to re-stress it with some blankets or tossing and turning. Your wife may not find it the most attractive option though, so use it wisely.

If the HTML works, this is the splint I picked up to find it working well

Posted by: Oft-piste at October 31, 2007 11:08 AM