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  1. #1
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    UCL injury (Gamekeepers thumb)

    Just wondering from others experience what the turn around is on this injury. I hurt my thumb in a crash at Sea Otter 6 weeks ago. It wasn't too bad and thought nothing of it. Then 3 weeks ago I got my thumb caught up at work and really aggravated it. I have pretty good range of movement and good strength, it just hurts to bend in certain ways and seems to get caught. The doc gave me a brace to wear and told me to use it as little as possible until it stops hurting (not much of a diagnosis). I'm thinking of going to a specialist instead of med stop this time. Any thoughts? Its killing me being off my bike for 6 weeks now and who knows how much longer!!

  2. #2
    CJH
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    Hurt my UCL the first week of July, 2009 moving logs off my property. Unfortunately the inflamation was significant until about the middle of April 2010. Basically woke up one day in April and went about my morning routine and realized I hadn't noticed any thumb pain around lunch time.

    I never took a cortisone injection but did take two oral anti inflamatories and an injection of Toradol. Nothing really helped.

    I have two sons in diapers (two and almost one years old) so I really can't relate this injury to riding since I basically haven't ridden off road in over a year anyways.

    I had a very long recovery but have to think part of that was because I kept working on cleaning up my property despite the extreme discomfort. I had already paid for yard waste dumpsters and stubbornly kept working. With hindsight that was a mistake.

  3. #3
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    In the same boat.

    I'm about 4 weeks out from my tear and surgery. The pin comes out this week and the real rehab begins.

    In trying to think back about how this happened, I still can't put my finger on what occurred. It struck me today that maybe the wing on the Ergon grips extended my thumb back. I've been riding for almost 20 years with regular grips and had falls a thousand times worse without such an injury. Were you using Ergon's?

  4. #4
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    I've torn mine in both thumbs. One was done diving for a softball in high school, the other while snowboarding.

    After the initial snowboarding injury, I wore a brace for a month. It generally felt ok, unless I did something like grab a pillow. I ended up seeing a hand surgeon. Lucky for me, there was still a small shred of living ligament, so I avoided a tendon graft.

    It was during my evaluation for the snowboarding injury that the other thumb became an issue. I'd never given any thought to why it always hurt. I was going to stall off surgery on it, but ended up breaking that thumb shortly there after and had to have a pin put in it. I figured I might as well do the ligament repair as well. I think I bought that doctor a new boat or vacation home that year!

    Ended up having surgery for both of them. Recovery is long, as you have to be super careful to not re-tear. I seem to recall a good 2-3 months before doing any "real" mountain biking. Truth be told, I still have discomfort at times. I try to use fat grips to distribute the pressure into the palm of my hand instead of at the thumb.

    Sorry to be such a downer, but it is reality.

    Marcia

  5. #5
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    Fell mt biking 6 months ago...hurt thumb, but waited to go to the doctor until a week ago because I didn't want to miss any races. Turns out I have a torn UCL and stener lesion...a few dr's are telling me to have the surgery. Thumb works, but loose, and painful...can ride no problem though. I know I should probably get it done, but so sick of surgery...have had 2 acl reconstructions, talus surgery (ankle- which is still messed up) and just want to ride...I'm so used to pain that is doesn't even phase me anymore...Anyone else dealing w/ UCL thumb pain and not have the surgery? If you've had surgery, how soon did you return to biking? I want to snowboard too, which I think I could, if I had the surgery. I was told they would take a tendon out of my wrist and make the new ligament out of it for my thumb, but I'm gonna see if they can use a cadaver instead of messing w/ my wrist.
    Thanks all for any info...

  6. #6
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    Two common descriptive terms for injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament are:

    "skier's thumb" and
    "gamekeeper's thumb"
    These eponyms are often used interchangeably, although they describe slightly different injury patterns.
    The skier's thumb injury was described as an acute injury to the ulnar collateral ligament. When a skier falls with his or her hand caught in a ski pole, the thumb can be pulled away from the hand. Because of the shape of the ski pole, the thumb tends to get caught and significant stresses are placed on the ulnar collateral ligament. If the ulnar collateral ligament is pulled far enough, it will tear. While there are many ways to injure the ulnar collateral ligament, a skier's thumb is the proper eponym for an acute injury to the ligament.

    The other injury is called a gamekeeper's thumb; this refers to a more chronic pattern of injury that leads to loosening of the ulnar ligament over time. The name comes from the European gamekeepers who would kill their game by grasping the head of the animal between their thumb and index finger to break its neck. Over time, the ulnar collateral ligament is stretched and would eventually cause problems. Again, gamekeeper's thumb is the proper eponym to describe chronic injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament.

    An ulnar collateral ligament injury most often occurs as a result of sports injuries. Athletes who are skiers and soccer players often sustain this injury
    http://www.arthroscopysurgeryindia.c...les.aspx?id=14

  7. #7
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    Hello there, double cast thumbs here.
    Just had stitches removed today from my right thumb. Still dont know excatly what happened but pretty upset with the brakes on my brand new Sworks Stumpjumper Carbon HT. Completed this year's Ruta de Conquistadores without a scrtach on my old bike with Formula brakes, have been biking for years without a bad injury (just road rash & stitches). I should of changed the brakes right away but after spending a small fortune on a bike I decided to wait (dont know if I can mention brake systems or makes).
    Was out doing a typical ride (part of second day of Conquistadores), it climbs steep for 1:20hrs and them a steep decent to Palmichal. Pulled on my brakes (like normal - I'm a very careful downhiller, my friends know me for climbing and pushing hard past them because they always catch me on the downhills) but there was so much reverberance, shuddering, broken glass sound, everything but a smooth braking, so, instead of slowing down, my rear locked, I slid and bingo! Welcome to Stener's lesion world.
    My plan? Slow, steady steep climbs (Irazu Volcano), where it's 3:30hrs of 5 miles per hour uphill and get picked up top & long mountain runs.
    Just wondering if there are others that have happy ending stories after this kind of injury and how long before they downhilled again with stable thumbs
    Last edited by costaricabkr; 02-03-2012 at 07:41 PM. Reason: pushed enter by mistake

  8. #8
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    I call skiers thumb " KTM whisky throttle, high side and lawn dart" thumb. Did mine a few years back, not a complete avulsion so no surgery was required, but it took a few months splinted to heal enough to moto and was sensitive to quick awkward grabs for a few more months. All is good now strength wise, though I will get a stray "twinge" now and again so I'm conscious of how I use or expose my thumb to abduction forces.
    Last edited by Noclutch; 02-04-2012 at 08:51 PM.

  9. #9
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    Thanks Noclutch.
    Good to hear that things turned out well for you in the long run. I hope that with a complete tear I have similar results.

    JC

  10. #10
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    JC- also consider my healing experience through the prism of my being 45 at the time...
    Good luck!

  11. #11
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    Crashed hard on a hip jump 2 weeks ago. Apparently, my left thumb got caught on the bars, and bent way back toward my wrist - instantly very painful and swollen! Went to Kauai, swam with turtles, returned home still hurtin'. Orthopedic Dr. x-rayed... ulnar collateral ligament is torn... "arrgghhh!" Dr. said, "... in this country, the standard of treatment is surgery to repair the ligament." I have broken both thumbs before, my right thumb was never repaired - it has an odd range of movement, but doesn't really bother me. As a guitarist, (and many years later) I'm concerned that an odd range of movement will hinder my fretting hand.
    In the last decade, my left hand has incurred:
    1. over the bars, broken pinky 2 places
    2. smashed index and ring finger in a head-on accident with another rider (my hand went thru his carbon bars!)
    3. and now this!
    So, now I'm looking at surgery, weeks in a cast or brace, weeks (hopefully not months) of rehab., and canceling a summer of singletrack!
    I'll letchya know how it goes...
    So bummed...

  12. #12
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    Just got into mtbing myself a couple weeks ago... borrowed a specialized hard rock hard tail before I decided to waste money buying a bike if I wasn't good at it. First time out was riding the in between service road looking for some trails and over shot one, ended up rolling over a rock and kicking it up catching my pedal and eatin some dirt... Didn't feel discomfort at all throughout the rest of my rides, but before going to bed my left thumb started experiencing some discomfort. Next day I could barely move it, and definitely couldn't grasp anything with it, putting on socks was painful, buttoning pants, putting on a belt...

    So now it's been a week and a half almost, have most of the movement back in my thumb, but still cannot really grasp anything with any amount of pressure. If I grab ahold of my thumb with my other hand and press down on the joint I can definitely feel movement and slight catch in the movement.

    I'm putting off any kind of doctor visits for at least the rest of the summer, might get it checked on once I'm back home for college but probably not because I don't have insurance. Absolutely not having anything to do with surgeries because I'm going to be doing an internship at a ski resort during winter break lol, not going to spend that month in a brace or cast.

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