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Skiers Thumb (Sprained Thumb)

Posted by Neo G on

What is Skiers Thumb (Sprained Thumb)?

A sprained thumb is a common cause of thumb pain and is often referred to as skiers thumb, although it doesn’t just occur in skiers. It can occur whenever there is a forceful movement of the thumb away from the hand, in skiing this commonly happens due to the position of the ski poles when the person falls. In this injury there is a sprain of the ulna collateral ligament in the thumb, a ligament which is important for stabilising the thumb.


Common Causes

Common sports that can cause this injury:

  • Skiing
  • Rugby
  • Netball
  • Basketball

Common Signs & Symptoms

Following this injury the common symptoms are:

  • Pain and swelling around the base of the thumb
  • Pain on gripping
  • A weak grip

Condition Management

What should be done following this injury:

  • Consult your GP or A&E
  • Elevate the arm to reduce the pain and swelling in the thumb
  • Use ice or a reusable cold pack to reduce pain and swelling (the recommended time is 10 minutes on with 1 hour off). Never apply ice directly to the skin.


Depending on how severe the injury will determine how this injury is managed. Severe sprains may require surgery to repair the damaged ligament. Minor sprains may need to be put in POP for several weeks to allow the ligament to heal. You will then need to see a chartered physiotherapist who can advise you on how to regain full movement and strength in the thumb and hand. You may find a thumb brace helpful to reduce pain and provide support. These may also be used when you want to return to sport and want to protect the thumb.


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* Disclaimer *

The content on this website is provided for general information and reference purposes only and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist, or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information as self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. All exercises and information featured on this web site should only be reviewed/practised under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. Products suggestions linked to injuries may be provided on the site but you must always refer to the product page for full product details and always consult a physician before use as the indications outlined may not always be relevant to your particular injury/condition.


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