Severe Skier's Thumb Injury: An Overview Of The Surgery And Recovery

Posted on

Skiers can get banged up going down snow filled slopes during the winter. One of the biggest problems you face is damaging your thumb as you try to stop yourself from falling while holding onto your ski poles. Your thumb is often stretched out and in a vulnerable position at this point.The thumb can caught in the snow and get pulled back far enough to do a lot of damage to the ligaments and joint in the thumb. If the damage is too severe, an orthopedic surgeon may have to do surgery to repair it. Here is what you should expect during skier's thumb surgery and the recovery period afterwards if you've torn a ligament in your thumb.

Skier's Thumb Surgery

You may choose to use a general anesthetic or a local anesthetic during the surgery. With a general anesthetic, you will be asleep during the entire process. If you use a local anesthetic, your hand will be numb, but you are awake and alert doing the entire procedure (although, the surgeon will put a sheet up to block your view of the surgery).

Your hand will be bathed in an antiseptic lotion to prevent germs from getting into your thumb.

A line is placed with a permanent marker along the damaged area over the thumb so the surgeon knows where to precisely cut through the skin and muscle to reach the torn ligament. The surgeon will cut down along the marked line until he reaches the ruptured ligament. 

The ligament will typically be reattached using a suture anchor. A suture anchor is metal screw that is inserted into the bone. The surgeon runs a suture through the small holes on the anchor. The other end of the suture is connected to the end of the torn ligament.The surgeon will pull the two pieces of the torn ligaments back to the anchor and suture them together.

Recovery Time

You should expect to spend at least a month with a cast over the palm of your hand and thumb to keep the damaged area immobile during the initial healing process.

During the initial phase of healing, the surgeon will prescribe Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory medications to control any pain you're feeling and decrease any inflammation in the surgical area.

Once the thumb has sufficiently healed, the surgeon will let you wear a splint for the next few weeks while your surgical area continues to heal. During this time, you will also be expected to partake in active range of motion (AROM) exercises. The exercises help to strengthen, stretch, and increase the flexibility of the thumb to restore its full range of motion.

Full recovery can take a few months or more depending on the extent of the injury, your physical health, and your commitment to performing AROM exercises. 

For more information, contact clinics like Orthopaedic Associates Of Rochester.