The Secret Behind Gamekeeper's Thumb Injury

When hearing the term gamekeeper’s thumb, what do you associate the term with? These days, one might think you are referring to an injury to the thumb caused by playing too many video games. But do you know really know the reason behind this thumb injury?

Gamekeeper’s thumb is really referring to a 'gamekeeper' breaking the necks of animals, primarily rabbits. Wait, what? Our thoughts exactly.  The gamekeeper’s thumb injury was started all the way back in the 1950’s. It was first coined by CS Campbell, an orthopedic surgeon, in 1955. He continually observed Scottish gamekeepers and noticed the same injury, damage to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).

Gamekeepers would receive this injury by killing small animals. These animals were placed on the ground, and their necks were broken by the gamekeeper. They did this by pushing their thumb and index finger to create downward pressure to break the neck. As a result, this puts a lot of force on the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint, the knuckle between the hand and finger.

There are many different things this injury can all be called, including the following:

  • Gamekeeper’s Thumb
  • Skier’s Thumb
  • Gamer’s Thumb
  • Blackberry or Texting Thumb
you can get gamekeepers thumb from video games, texting and skiing that make your fingers hurt

The injury is now commonly and most known as skier’s thumb. This is caused when a skier falls down and doesn’t let go of the pole. The injury results from the skier’s hand landing on their ski pole and causing a force on the thumb and hand. As for gamer's thumb or texting thumb, it is a repetitive stress injury caused by playing video games or texting, affecting the thumb and wrist.

This painful injury refers to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) being torn or ruptured, leaving the thumb joint sore and aching. Some symptoms of gamekeeper’s thumb may be:


  • Problems grabbing or holding items
  • Pain in the hand where it connects to the thumb
  • Swelling of the thumb
  • Bruising or discoloration of the skin by the thumb

If you find yourself with this symptoms check out the BraceAbility Gamekeeper’s Thumb Splint. This thumb brace allows one to choose from three different interchangeable splints. It includes flexible, rigid, and malleable stays that can also be removed if desired. These different stays make the brace fully customizable to help provide the support and comfort needed by the user. The brace helps to provide the user with comfortable support and immobilization so that healing can occur properly.

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