A sprained thumb is often referred to as Skier’s Thumb, due to the prevalence of this injury during skiing. It is a common cause of thumb pain and swelling. Skier’s Thumb refers to damage to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament at the base of the thumb, often caused by a ski pole during a fall. However, a Sprained Thumb is not exclusive to skiers and can occur to anyone where there is sufficient force applied to the thumb in a direction away from the hand.
In severe injuries there is often immediate thumb swelling and pain. Thumb bruising may develop in a few days. In more chronic cases of sprained thumb that have not been diagnosed early, then there may be a persistent thickening of the thumb joint with chronic swelling.
Ice packs and compression are the best treatments immediately following injury. Thumb Sprains tend to resolve in around four to six weeks and can be aided by Osteopathic treatment. Exercises using hand therapy balls and therapeutic putty can be very helpful to regain mobility. Grip and thumb strengthening devices can also be useful to restore normal hand and thumb strength.