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Thumb Question

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I may be a new member to the Skier's Thumb Club from my activitys this weekend.

I was chasing my dog around the park on Saturday playing, having a good time. Learned something, dogs can turn quicker than humans. Dog turned, my upper body turned, footing gave loose, went down on right thumb (also my braking hand for rappelling) hard, heard pop, felt burning. Not so good, I was sure my thumb was broken. Went to the ER, got the X-Rays and stuff.

Found out my thumb was not broken, but badly sprained. Hurts bad, and I have serious lack of motion with it now. Brused very badly. My question is how long will this take to heal? Doctor said a week or so to feel better, 3-6 months to get back to full health. Said that sprains can be worse than breaks on thumbs. 3-6 months will be fine for next ski season, but not so good for the summer climbing season.
post #2 of 14
Given that surgical wounds take MONTHS to regain strength - I wouldn't discount that 6 months figure - but don't know the stats.

Anybody curious about the above - if you don't want scars from your abdominal surgery - when they remove the stitches/clips etc have elastic steristrips & some film dressing applied. Change the film dressing every week & remove every 3rd steristrip in the process. Continue applying film dressing every week even after removal of all steristrips. Open heart surgery patients can be left with minimal scaring.
post #3 of 14
Altaskier, are you actually having surgery, because post operative healing is longer.

BTW, when you get better, I have some great exercises for rapelling!

[ June 05, 2002, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: Lisamarie ]
post #4 of 14
If you have surgery, its 4 months. Not serious enough for surgery, about 6 weeks.
How the heck did we get onto abdominal and open heart surgery from skiers thumb? :
post #5 of 14
Alta skier, a severe thumb sprain can take months to heal. Make sure someone qualified checks your thumb in a few weeks when the swelling and intense pain have lessened so they can assess the strength of the sprained ligaments. The main concern is a tear so severe that the stability of the joint is affected. It's possible to evaluate now but that would require local anesthesia or some screaming.
Good luck. skidoc [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #6 of 14
No matter how long the healing process, one thing is certain, and please don't kill the messenger! Any ligament tears need to be treated with care, even after they heal. There is also some interesting research being conducted about injuries that happen on one side of the body. In some, but definitely not in all cases, people develop a loss of stability on the side of the body that has been injured. It is comjectured that the transverse abdominal muscle {the stabilizing muscle} may recieve less innervation on the injured side.

I'll let you know if more results of the study are published.

Here is an interesting link about skiers thumb:

[ June 03, 2002, 05:50 PM: Message edited by: Lisamarie ]
post #7 of 14
I wasn't actually talking about recovery from surgery - just the wound site.

So even small incisions - like removal of a melanoma, or a few stitches in the noggin from a minor altercation - take >3 months to heal properly..

That is why scars develop - over taxing of the unhealed tissue - so the idea of applying the film is to support the skin & prevent that. (Also the reason for the slow removal of steristrips)
post #8 of 14
Having had a rupture of the ulnar C. lig. last Jan. with surgical repair, I can say in my case the thumb is mostly better. While playing catch with my 10 year old last evening, I tweaked it a bit and still have discomfort at times. Motion to the Extremes of range are still "iffy". Strength and confidence are still in short supply.
My readings on this injury indicated that under treatment is a stupid thing, with a life time of consequences. Still, I met someone this winter who could bend both thumbs way to far (they confessed multiple srains and injured thumbs) and had no complaints. YMMV.

I evaluated my own condition (compared to the uninjured hand) within 36 hours with no additional discomfort. Ligaments don't have many nerves to signal pain. It's the swelling that hurts the affected area.

Good luck

I'm exercising my thumb now!

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your input on the subject, goes to show what a great group of people some to epicski! Thanks again dchan and AC!

Today, Tuesday (injury on Saturday) my thumb feels much better. The doctor who saw it did not recomend even seeing another doctor unless the paid does not go away within a week. Read no surgery prescribed at the time. Is going to another doctor still necessary? Can I get away with being the average injured person who is feeling better and just forget about it? Doctor visits are not cheap, and don't want to lose PTO time going to the doc if not necessary. Today the bruise is getting darker, and deeper, but feeling better. The thumb feels loose, like it needs to be popped, but no way I'm trying that. Still pretty stiff, but gaining more motion, maybe 75% of what it was.

I still have trouble with doors, carabiners, jars, anything with twisting/gripping, and pushing the little button to get the keys out of my car. Glad I'm not addicted to video games!
post #10 of 14
OK - now that the black bits are coming out (I presume you've been doing the cold stuff)

Get hold of some heparinoid ointment if you can (it is sold here as Lasonil or Hirudoid) - it will help to take the bruising down a bit
post #11 of 14
Alta Skier, your doctor's advice about no follow up if it's gone in a week sounds reasonable. I seriously doubt it'll feel 100% after one week given the black and blue color which is indicative of tissue damage. That said follow up or reassessment is not absolutely necessary if the thumb feels darned good and you are willing to accept the very small but real possibility that an unrepaired lax joint is predisposed to early arthritis. For example I blew my ankle horribly 6 years ago and never entertained surgery since I'm not a serious athlete or dancer. I have a loose ankle which is usually pretty good but will likely degenerate a bit quicker than the other. In your case if you have a occupation or lifestyle that requires maximum thumb strength or function you would probably do well to error on the side of caution and follow up. If you think like me you can always take a wait and see approach for a few weeks. Feel free to PM me if you have questions. ski doc
post #12 of 14

I cranked my thumb back when I crashed skiing in February (snowboarder out of control, grrrr), and I am just now back to normal. But then again, sprains take longer to heal when yer OLD. : May yours heal faster and better.
post #13 of 14
Originally posted by skidoc:
It's possible to evaluate now but that would require local anesthesia or some screaming.
been there, done that. the local is not enough to cover the pain the doc inflicts to check the joint movement. not fun.

alta: my thumb took >4 months to start feeling ok. it's very easy to reinjure during healing so be careful.
post #14 of 14
The thumb I injured in Dec of 2000 is still swollen and lacks range of movement. The one I injured in January of 1999 seems "normal".
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