Panther
Blog

Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injuries of the Thumb

The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the thumb is commonly injured by falling onto an outstretched hand or in sports where the thumb metacarpal phalangeal joint (MP) is hyperextended or hyper-abducted. This injury can have many names such as “skiers thumb”, “gamekeepers thumb”, and “break dancers thumb.”

What is a ligament?

A ligament is like a piece of tape that holds 2 bones together. It is a non-contractile tissue (i.e. not muscle) that creates the stability of joints. For example, most people have heard of the MCL that stabilizes the knee. The UCL of the thumb is found in the webspace of your thumb and the first finger holding together and creating the stability of the thumb.

What is a ligament sprain?

Ligament sprains are classified into 3 categories:

Grade 1 sprain (mild)

A minimal tear of the ligament fibres causing mild pain and no laxity.

Grade 2 sprain (moderate)

A partial tear of the ligament fibres with pain and increased laxity.

Grade 3 sprain (severe)

A complete tear of the ligament fibres which may or may not be painful and increased laxity.

Signs and Symptoms

  • pain around the thumb, especially in the webspace
  • possible swelling and bruising around the thumb
  • decreased range of motion and grip/pinching strength
  • a feeling of instability at the thumb

Physiotherapy Assessment and Treatment

A physiotherapist will conduct a thorough history and physical examination to determine if you are presenting with a UCL of the thumb injury. Treatment can include multiple therapeutic modalities, manual therapy, and a comprehensive exercise program. In some cases, it may be necessary to immobilize your thumb in a thumb spica cast or splint to promote optimal healing before starting rehabilitation. Proper diagnosis and treatment of the thumb are necessary to avoid long term complications including chronic pain, weakness, instability, and osteoarthritis.

It is important to have your injury evaluated by a physiotherapist so they can determine the appropriate course of treatment.

Medical Management

If you are unsuccessful with conservative management such as immobilization and physical therapy, there may be a surgical repair option depending on the individual injury and severity of the ligament tear. In this case, you may be referred to a hand surgeon for a consultation. This referral can be done in collaboration with your physiotherapist and family doctor.

Why Choose Panther Sports

Panther Sports Medicine has been serving Calgary for over 30 years! We are locally owned and operated. We offer comprehensive, professional rehabilitation services. Our staff is highly trained in the latest and most effective treatment options. With a wide variety of services and skills, we will get you back to your normal life as soon as possible.
Personalized Service
Educated Professionals
Compassionate Staff
State of the Art Centres
Panther Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Centres is a physical therapist owned and operated rehabilitation company. We are a network of nine rehabilitation centres located throughout the city of Calgary that offer a wide range of programs and services to help our patients restore and maximize their physical capabilities.
book online now
COUNTRY HILLS
403-226-5733

11950 Country Village Link NE
Calgary, AB
OAKRIDGE
403-258-2659

10003 - 24th Street SW
Calgary, AB
CRANSTON MARKET
403-455-1888

2010, 356 Cranston Road SE
Calgary, AB
TRICO CENTRE
403-278-5311

11150 Bonaventure Drive SE
Calgary, AB
SETON
403-764-6337

4995 Market Street SE
Calgary, AB
MARLBOROUGH MALL
403-272-4202

425 Marlborough Way NE
Calgary, AB
SOUTH FISH CREEK
403-225-0210

333 Shawville Blvd SE
Calgary, AB
MCKENZIE TOWNE
403-257-6238

75 High Street SE
Calgary, AB
WALDEN
587-356-4327

130, 19606 Walden Blvd SE
Calgary, AB
Copyright © 2019 - Panther Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation Centres. All rights reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Website by iNet Media Ltd.

check linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram