Injury to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) can be quite painful and disruptive. Tears of the UCL often lead to instability of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint, along with pain, swelling, and diminished grasp strength, with the severity of the thumb injury symptoms depending upon the extent of the tear.
Tears to the ligaments in the thumb occur when it is forced too far back or to the side. Because of the activities that are often associated with a UL tear, this condition is also known as skier’s, gamekeeper’s or gamer’s thumb.
If a complete tear occurs, thumb ligament surgery will likely be required, but in instances of a partial tear, wearing a thumb immobilization splint is often sufficient treatment for skiers thumb. This plastic thumb splint is well suited for such use.
This skier thumb brace immobilizes the thumb but leaves the other fingers and much of the hand unrestricted. This helps prevent one’s hand, wrist, and forearm from losing strength and flexibility while undergoing gamers’ thumb treatment.
The rigid thumb post splint holds the thumb still, protecting the ligaments against further injury or irritation and allowing swelling to subside so healing can occur.
The shell of the thumb stabilizer is a rigid polyethylene material that is quite thin and lightweight. This plastic material is resistant to chemicals and heat. As a result, the thermoplastic thumb spica splint can be cleaned using a damp cloth with mild soap or disinfectant.
The gamer thumb treatment support is anatomically contoured for a comfortable fit. Further enhancing this are the two undersleeves that come with the skiers thumb brace.
These breathable, stockinette liners ensure a soft, dry fit. The inclusion of a pair of undersleeves is also convenient in that one can be worn while the other is being cleaned and air dried.
The skiers’ thumb splint is secured via a contact closure at the wrist. This makes it easy to apply and to adjust—even with one hand.
The immobilization of the UCL splint provides also enables it to treat other injuries to the thumb, including (but not limited to) the following:
These thumb stabilizers for ligament injury in the thumb and more comes in a variety of sizes, fitting wrist circumferences from 6 inches to 10 inches. For even smaller sizes, we also offer a pediatric thumb splint for ski thumb and other injuries to the digit.
The ulnar collateral ligament is an important stabilizer to the hand, damage of which can make it difficult to do things as simple as tying the shoes and other activities that require the pinch-style of gripping. Besides MCP joint instability and a weak pinch grasp, other UCL thumb ligament injury symptoms include swelling and pain, especially when one catches the thumb on something.
This injury is referred to both skiers’ thumb and gamekeepers’ thumb, but there is some difference between the two. Skier’s thumb refers to an acute injury stemming from a sudden, forced stretching of the thumb in an outer direction like a skier might sustain when falling with a pole in hand or a volleyball player falling onto an outstretched hand. In cases of a full tear where the UCL is torn off the site where the ligament attaches to the bone, a fracture might also occur.
Gamekeepers thumb refers to a chronic injury stemming from repeated episodes of low-grade thumb hyperabduction. Its name stems from its association with Scottish gamekeepers who would develop this injury over time by breaking the necks of an animal between the thumb and index finger.
If one does not seek skiers thumb treatment, it can progress to gamekeepers’ thumb, which is more difficult to treat since repeated injury thins and lengthens the UCL.
Skiers’/gamekeepers’ thumb treatment depends upon whether a full or partial tear has occurred. For a partial tear, one will likely need to immobilize the region via a cast for four weeks, at which point one can switch to a removable UCL thumb splint and begin to engage skier’s /gamekeeper’s thumb physical therapy, where one will focus on regaining range of motion.
A completely torn thumb ligament requires surgery to repair. A surgeon will suture the ligament to itself or an adjacent bone and repair any fracture using wires or screws.
Thumb ligament surgery recovery will include a four-week period of immobilization via a thumb surgery cast, followed by use of a removable gamekeepers thumb brace and therapy to restore range of motion and strength to the hand and thumb.
Adhering to immobilization and exercises are both vital to the success of treatment. The freedom this gamekeepers’ thumb splint allows as well as its comfortable fit makes adhering to a period of immobilization easier.
Quick treatment after an injury occurs via either torn ligament in thumb surgery or immobilization also increases the odds for success.
This thumb spica is a great solution for those treating a tear of the UCL—whether one is addressing a thumb strain by immobilizing it or if one is in need of removable support after skiers’ thumb surgery. Following is a list of features that make the stabilizer for the thumb well equipped to do so:
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