Mr Mike Hayton
FRCS (Trauma and Orth) FFSEM (UK)
Consultant Orthopaedic Hand Surgeon
Other common names
- Skier's thumb (acute injury)
- Gamekeeper's thumb
Who does it affect?
The acute injury to the thumb often occurs in collision sportspeople and is the second most common skiing injury in the upper limb. The chronic injury is described as a gamekeeper's thumb, and this was thought to occur as gamekeepers despatched of the animals by breaking their necks, causing a strain to the thumb.
Why does it occur?
The acute injury occurs as the thumb is twisted violently and ruptures the thumb metacarpo-phalangeal ligament on the inside.
Patients present with pain on the inside of the thumb and also a sense of weakness of the thumb, due to instability.
The doctor will identify the area of localised pain, and there may be a small swelling, suggesting the ruptured end of the ligament. The doctor will gently move the thumb, and may notice increased laxity. This a short video clip on an unstable thumb prior to the surgery.