The Silly Skier’s Thumb: Ulna Collateral Ligament tear.

The Silly Skier’s Thumb: Ulna Collateral Ligament tear

What is Skier’s Thumb?

Winter is Here! Finally, it’s time for weekend trips up to the snow and delicious hot cocoa. Unfortunately, it can also be time for those horrible thumb injuries that ruin your long-awaited time in the snow. So, before you make the black diamond run down the slopes, look here for the most common thumb injury and how to manage it.

One of the most common thumb injuries that we as Hand Therapists see with both skiers and snowboarders is damage to the ligament in the thumb. Specifically, to the ulna collateral ligament (UCL), aka. the ligament located in the webspace of the thumb and index finger. This injury is also popularly referred to as the Skier’s Thumb. The injury occurs commonly when skiers fall holding onto their ski poles, however, can also occur when you fall on an outstretched hand with your thumb abducted. If you’re worried you have injured this ligament, read on for what you can do and how a Hand Therapist can help.


What are the signs of a UCL tear?

  • Swelling at the base of the thumb.
  • Reduced strength and movement in your thumb when gripping objects.
  • Tenderness when you touch the palm side of your thumb, or the side closer to your index finger.
  • Pain in the thumb overall, or specifically when you move your thumb out to your wrist.


What do I do if I have these signs?

  • Don’t ice the finger as this impact on the inflammatory response.
  • Tape your thumb to your index finger to reduce your risk of dislocation.
  • Book an appointment with your Hand Therapist at Melbourne Hand Rehab.


Splint often used for Ulna Collateral Ligament tear.

Hand therapists use splints and braces to support an injured area after an accident, illness or operation. Your hand therapists will talk to you about which splint or brace is most appropriate to your individual situation.


What can a hand therapist do if I have a Skier’s Thumb?

  • During your appointment with your Hand Therapist, we will thoroughly assess your injury and determine whether you need surgery input.
  • We will determine whether you require a splint and provide you with a range of treatment and exercises.
  • We will try and reduce the long-term complications that can be caused by this injury being untreated and get you back on the slopes as quick as possible.


So, if you think you have a Silly Skier’s Thumb and are worried that it will impact on your snow season, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to help you.



For more information, call us directly on 03 9458 5166