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UCL thumb surgery? Good idea or Bad?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,

 

I got a question. 

 

about two months ago I injured my thumb, doctor said partial tear to my UCL So put me in a cast for 6 weeks (No MRI). Was skating around being stupid with some friends and fell on it. I also play soccer for my school and it keeps getting hit with that. Came out of the cast still in pain with pinching and using my thumb, then got an MRI this past week. Results came back and said torn UCL (No evidence of a stener lesion) and a non displaced tear to my RCL. I went to a hand specialist the other day to see if I needed to have surgery. The doc said lets wait on surgery and come back and see me in about a month and we will see how it is then. The reason for that is because he said that the scar tissue will "heal the ligament" which kind of took me for a loop (mainly because I am a sports science so I have some knowledge about scar tissue and ligaments). 

 

So my question is I am 20 years old about to be graduating from college, in the long run of life, work, and the sake of my thumb would it be smart to get the surgery? 

 

Thanks guys,

Nick    

post #2 of 6

Medically, no idea - but as far as what to expect if you don't...  I did roughly the same thing in my later teens, actually fell on it skiing (I'm now 45, so it's been almost 30 years!).  For the first 10 years after the injury, I kept hurting it over and over; for several years I skiied in a thumb protection glove because it would hurt so much if I tweaked it.  In my 20s I skiied a lot more than now since I lived in Aspen for 5 years and usually got 100 days, or near.  After moving away from a ski town, corporate job, married, kids, etc, I don't ski nearly as much and the pain has become a non-issue.

 

However, as I type this, I can still tell it's not "right"; when I flex my thumb to touch the base of my pinky, it feels odd, not painful, just that something is "off".  Who knows if it will turn arthritic earlier than if I'd not hurt it?

 

I never saw a doctor about it, so don't know what would have come of that.  However, if I'd known then how long the pain would last and how much it would hurt, for years, I would likely have run to the surgeon.

 

YMMV, and I'd discuss your situation with your doc, but that's my take...

post #3 of 6

I had a similar injury but instead of tearing the ligament, I had an avulsion fracture of the metacarpal bone in my thumb. I didn't see a hand specialist for a few weeks by which time the bone had set and healed. He told me I was probably lucky in that the ligament didn't tear so I avoided surgery. However, he also told me it would probably bother me for about a year before it felt okay. He was pretty much spot on as it bothered me most of the next season (happened in April the season before). So, I would suggest following the doctor's orders and protect it to the greatest extent possible and give it a chance to heal. Avoiding surgery, if possible, is usually the best advice. In the parlance of medical treatment, the first rule is 'Do no harm'.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Definitely if I can get away with out having surgery that would be great. Just the doc I saw was kind of a dick and didn't really seem like he wanted to be involved or deal with me. So just wanted to see if any one here had advice or suggestions! 

post #5 of 6

A lot of docs seem to be socially inept, i.e. non-communicative. Just the nature of the smart kids who used to get beat up for their lunch money, growing up to be wildly successful, intellectual nerds.  (Just kidding, docs!)  If nothing else, seek a second opinion to give yourself peace of mind.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post
 

A lot of docs seem to be socially inept, i.e. non-communicative. Just the nature of the smart kids who used to get beat up for their lunch money, growing up to be wildly successful, intellectual nerds.  (Just kidding, docs!)  If nothing else, seek a second opinion to give yourself peace of mind.

It is true! 

 

Thats what I will end up doing. Just one of those things if I have to get the surgery regardless might as well get it out of the way while I am still in college rather than waiting till I have a job and bigger issues that I have to deal with. 

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