Management of pain caused by skier’s thumb

Skier’s thumb involves injury to the ligament situated on the interior of the thumb. Take note that this ligament is responsible for the movement of the thumb joint and provides stability for the thumb. Based on studies conducted, skier’s thumb is usually the result when an individual falls with a ski pole in the hand. The condition is also a result of direct force that is placed on the thumb joint.

What are the symptoms of skier’s thumb?

If the individual is suspected with skier’s thumb, he/she is likely to recall when he/she fell with the ski poles in the hand. The individual can experience tenderness along the interior of the thumb as well as bruising and swelling. The thumb of the individual will eventually lose its range of motion. In case the ligaments in the thumb are completely torn, the thumb appears unstable. The severity of the symptoms largely depends on the severity of the damage on the thumb.

Skier's thumb

The individual can experience tenderness along the interior of the thumb as well as bruising and swelling.

Diagnosing skier’s thumb

Once skier’s thumb is suspected, the individual should stop skiing and consult a doctor. The doctor will take the medical history and ask the individual to describe how the injury was sustained. A physical examination will also be carried out. An X-ray will be taken to rule out a thumb fracture. In some cases, an MRI or CT scan will be performed to further evaluate the severity of the injury.


The treatment for skier’s thumb depends on the severity of the injury. If the ligaments are only partially torn, the injury can be treated with conservative measures. This includes an immobilization period of four weeks but based on the recommendations of the doctor as well as the severity of the injury. You can learn more about treatment options by enrolling in a course on first aid today.

The hand will also be placed in a short fiberglass cast. After the removal of the cast, the individual will be given a transferrable splint or brace that must be used for another two weeks. Once the cast is removed, therapy will be started. The therapy involves rebuilding strength and improving the range of motion in the thumb. The individual should not resume skiing until the doctor allows.

If the ligament in the thumb is completely torn, surgery is an option. The surgery will be performed to repair the damaged ligament. Right after surgery, the individual will use the cast for four weeks and another two weeks under a transferrable splint. Physical therapy is also a part of the treatment. Full recovery is expected within 3-4 hour months.

Preventive measures

Since skier’s thumb is a traumatic injury, it can be difficult to predict when one occurs but there are steps to take to minimize the risk of developing the condition. If an individual is only learning to ski or has not skied for some time, poles must be avoided. The individual can learn how to ski by simply using the skis.