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skiers thumb injury

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
After my most hellacoius ski crash ever i am lucky that nothing waist down was even tweeked. Face is mauled : (staples, butterflys and nasty abrasions) and i feel like someone stomped all over me. Now to my question...they say i have skiers thumb. Doc at medic center ski patrol said tear was complete and severre. i go to specialist monday to get it looked at. So has anyone had this? Had surgery to correct it? AND did u ski with a cast? I don't see why u couln'nt, but curious. sorry 4 typos and possible grammar issues...one handed and edged with oxycodone...but coscious enuf to be fretting about skiing. biggy is that i have paid for a trip to switzerland to ski

post #2 of 32
Too bad about the wreck but at least you got off OK. If you have those big flat platforms on your grips that extend back towards your arm cut them off. That can help prevent the thumb injuries.

I did my thumb in years back and ignored it a bunch of years. Mine wasn't skiing and they called it gameskeeper's thumb which I think just indicates different ligaments. Pretty much the same deal though. Eventually I had surgery and had a pin inserted through the ends of both bones, came out the side of one and stuck out the side of the thumb. Then a fibreglass cast on top of that for 6 weeks. The surgeon was good enough to set up the cast to fit my bike handlebars and I managed quite a bit of good training that fall.

I know people who have skied with worse breaks and bigger casts but they were not necessarily that bright. You would have to be confidant you could ski without falling and you might consider being unable to use a pole. That can be pretty good for your skiing. The other option is put off the surgery and use one of those fibreglass splints in the hope it heals to some functional point. I know numerous people who have skied with those after thrashing a thumb.
post #3 of 32

Sorry to hear it -- major, major bummer.

Percoset last night...oxycodone this evening...you should be writing Carlos Castaneda novels!

I know a lady who tore her ligament (skier's thumb) and had surgery to correct it. She got it tangled up in her pole straps in a fall. She said her recovery was uneventful and fine and that she made her second ski trip that year and was able to ski in a soft cast.

She said her biggest problem was a glove to keep her hand warm! She and her husband own the local "ski shop" and they modified a men's XL glove to fit her...and a-skiing she went!

Keep us informed of your progress. I sure hope all goes well!

Sweet dreams.........
post #4 of 32
My skier's thumb incident was when I was coaching full time...I put the surgery off until later in the season, but skied with a half cast that the local doctor (also a skier) molded around my ski pole grip. Take your pole with you when you get casted.The next problem then is warmth - I used to tuck a mini heater in the edge of the cast, then wore a big woolly mitten.

Good luck!
post #5 of 32
I know a guy who took his ski patrol test with both thumbs broken!

Go skiing! And if things get rowdy during apres-ski, I want you on my side!
post #6 of 32
Sorry to hear of your accident, Lisa, but glad you are well enough to be typing even if it's only with one hand.

Skier's thumb used to be more prevalent with the "easy in grips". They have not sold these for a while. I had it one time...I was fortunate though, I did not have surgery. My specialist, also a skier, molded a special, splint type cast that fit the ski poles. I threw away the "easy grips" and went back to my old poles. She told me that skier's thumb also occurs when you have your hand through the strap on the ski poles because the poles stay with you in a fall.

My doctor told me it was fine to ski with the cast, just take it a little easier...but I didn't slow down. I was able to find a MENS XL ski type mitten in the local department store (cheap) that fit over my cast, maybe you can find one too.
post #7 of 32
I used a sock over the cast and no poles. Had the surgery, little pin put in--I'm a pianist---it's fine.
post #8 of 32
Been there..done that. Was on a training run at a local ski slope and ended up sliding on ice and didn't even realize that I really injured my thumb that bad. Yeah it hurt... but felt like I jammed it...and tried not to think about it. Well by the next morning it was really swollen and yellow and hurt like hell. Went to the orthopedic doctor and was told it was a total tear and I needed surgery. A couple of days later they cut it open... stiched the ligament together and closed me up... I wore a cast for about 6 weeks. Sorry to say I never regained the full flexibility of the thumb...but it did not impact my skiing. This happened about 10 years ago. My one and only ski injury (so far)
post #9 of 32

Lisa - I hope you're doing well this morning. The fact that we haven't heard from you, I hope, doesn't mean that you're ailing and unable to type!

As for the injury: How can it be prevented? And what were (are) those "easy grip" pole grips? What do they look like and how would you know if you have them?

As for the straps, everyone (that I know of) is taught to put their hands up through the straps and then grip the handle. A poster above suggested that skier's thumb can happen because people put their hands through the straps.

post #10 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hi HT! Each day has progress in some areas ( ie face is healing nicely and headaches gone) only to accentuate other pain (ribs still aching and now my thumb hurts). Been reading up on this and apparently the only prevention is to discard your poles on impact. Considering i lost consciousness, i couldn't really think about doing that

The stuff i've read says that it's better NOT to loop your straps, but let them remain free..allowing poles to drop away. Funny, I only just looped my poles this year!

Tomorrow i get to find out from the specialist how bad it is/isn't. Then it's back to work for me. Luckily i have a great boss and he said to work from home, heal correctly and come back when i'm comfortable. My other job (my business) is on auto pilot right now, so things are pretty good!
post #11 of 32
Hi again Lisa----I broke my pinky finger on a ski deck indoors skiing one season.. I had the cast molded to fit my pole but found it painfull to keep planting it---so I went skiing with one pole. It really helped my skiing---and I kept on teaching too.

As others noted I customized a large mitten to cover the cast.
post #12 of 32
Had the surgery last spring after my orthopod informed me that it was not healing on its own. Surgery was nothing, pain not too bad. The worst part about it was the size of the cast they put on ya for 6 weeks. Finding anything to go over it was impossible for me, including anything with long sleeves. Since it was already the end of the season for the most part, I only skied maybe another 2 days, and took it easy since I had also tweaked my MCL in the same crash.

FAst forward to the next season, no problemo. Range of motion will never be the same, but I can live with that. I'm glad it was just my thumb!

You'll be fine! Good luck!
post #13 of 32
Do you know anyone who sews? Make yourself a Hand Sari from fleece. (If you don't know anyone, I'll be glad to make one for you. PM me).

And........Skiing without poles could be a blessing in disguise.
post #14 of 32
Originally Posted by Bonni
Do you know anyone who sews? Make yourself a Hand Sari from fleece with. (If you don't know anyone, I'll be glad to make one for you. PM me).

And........Skiing without poles could be a blessing in disguise.
She is just dying to try the new sewing machine!
post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Bonni
Do you know anyone who sews? Make yourself a Hand Sari from fleece with. (If you don't know anyone, I'll be glad to make one for you. PM me).

And........Skiing without poles could be a blessing in disguise.
Really? You'd do that?? Um no I don't know anyone who sews....pm on the way
post #16 of 32
Yep, sent you a pm....place your order, Maam!
post #17 of 32
She's Baaaaaaaack ! LOL
post #18 of 32
Thread Starter 
Who me? Or Bonni? If its me i'm scrambling trying to take of stuff before my surgert Thurs...back to lala land for 2 days. But hell, i also booked my Switzerland train pass today even though my dad is questioning my sanity!
post #19 of 32
Got the stuff, Lisa, but..........

Right or left hand? I'll make it unidextrous. (Is that a word?)
post #20 of 32
I guess you went ahead with the surgery, Lisa...good luck. I had a 3/4 tear 2 years ago in Italy. All the doctor could get out was "you come back to my practice" repeatedly. All I could picture was some table saws and band aids. I decided to wait until I got back home.

If it truly is completely torn (seen by MRI) it's best not to wait because the ligament will receed back into itself and you will need a ligament grafted from another part of your arm.

I waited 2 weeks and I was told that I was close to needing a graft. I knew I needed surgery, because every time I would touch the tip of my thumb, the pressure at the joint would put me in agony.

The surgery was quick, I was put under, I woke up in more pain than when I went in, but it quickly went away after a week. I was in a soft cast for swelling for 1 week and a hard cast just to prevent movement for 5 weeks. Physical therapy with homework for about a month. 75% recovery 2 months after surgery

I have 95% range of motion, and that's because I did exactly what the physical therapist told me to do. The only time I notice the loss of motion is when I talk about the surgery...

on a side note, they also call it gameskeeper's thumb because of the technique used to break the necks of pheasants or something. It was a common injury for them.
post #21 of 32
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Bonni
Got the stuff, Lisa, but..........

Right or left hand? I'll make it unidextrous. (Is that a word?)
It was the left hand.
post #22 of 32
Thread Starter 
Impala,,,,good to hear u made near full recovery. I see what you mean about pain after surgery,,,,ugh. I go back Fri for follow up and kind of hope they put full cast instead of this splint so i can stay protected
post #23 of 32


Good luck with your recovery Rdy2ski.

I damaged my left thumb on two separate occaisions over a three year period. I didn't need surgery, but was casted (ski pole grip included), for 6-weeks. I was able to ski but no lifting. It did heal OK, but took a long time to get back to normal. So I looked kind of funky with a regular ski glove on one hand and a construction glove on my casted hand.

whtmt & Mackenzie 911
post #24 of 32


Tear or the ulnar collateral ligament of the 1st MCP joint. If the torn ligament is not displaced it may heal on it's own. If it is superficial to the adjacent aponeurosis it's a Stener lesion and those usually need operative intervention.
MRI can distinguish this.
post #25 of 32
Originally Posted by whtmt
Good luck with your recovery Rdy2ski.

I looked kind of funky with a regular ski glove on one hand and a construction glove on my casted hand.
You won't look "funky". One red fleece mittie coming your way in today's post, with pocket for hand warmer. Velcro fasteners. One handed operation....you'll be : .
post #26 of 32
Thread Starter 
Yay Bonni!!!! Best news all day. Surgery went wel but OMG I'm in a lot of pain. This is worse than anything i was going thru last week OK..i'm bucking up now! (feel like the 5 year old trying not to cry).
post #27 of 32
Don't feel bad.......it hurts like hell! Yell! Kick your feet!

When I had my foot surgery 4 years ago (wow! Time flies!) I was in ungodly pain. I even called the doctor to ask if it should be that bad. I had a 6 inch slice when I had my hysterectomy, and it was nowhere near as bad as the little foot slice.

They said "cmon, it can't be that bad. What did you expect?" in a really nasty tone. Harumph.

It was better the next day, and I was moving around really well the second day. But that first day was HELL.

I can hear you, sister! Go with the pain....it will pass.
post #28 of 32
Great to hear all went well with the surgery------take enough of the pain medication----you could find yourself on a powder run !

Heal Quick------Greg
post #29 of 32
Thread Starter 
So one week + a day out from surgery. Saw the doc to get the stitches out and pleasantly told him, "Doc...I won't be waiting another 3 weeks before I get back on my skis!" He laughed, shrugged his shoulders and said, "...and that's why I'm putting a hard cast on you!" He gave me his "official position = No skiing" and his personal position, "I don't blame you, I"ll make it as efficient as possible". Nice!

So I'm back on the snow tomorrow. Have to make a quick stop at ski patrol and medical center to drop off some home baked "thank you"s and then I'm on the hill!
post #30 of 32
Sounds like you have a good doc! Super!

And be sure that you can hold a steaming cup of hot chocolate with one of those hands! We'll be looking to hook up for a cup when we get there!


- HT
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