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Thread: Thumb Surgery

  1. #1
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    Thumb Surgery

    Thanks for the replies regarding shoulder recovery!

    Figured while I'm down I'd fix my thumb. Had a gamekeepers fracture with detached Ulnar Collateral ligament in January. I've been wearing a brace for two months which didn't help. Had to wait to fix it due to shoulder repair.

    (Thought my wife's patience bubble would completely rupture if I did left shoulder and right hand at the same time...bless her heart for being my nurse)

    Seems to be healing well. I'll still be back on the bike by July hopefully.

    One step closer to Bionic!

    If any of you have experienced this type of repair I'm interested to know if it has affected your riding. Let me know.

    L
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    I had my UCL detached last summer. I tore it on a drop that twisted my handlebars and my right thumb! I had the surgery that left me with a metal pin that looked like a paper clip sticking out of my hand. I was out for the summer which sucked big time. All the nice days that I would see other people heading off to trails . I started riding again in the fall and it feels great now! It gets a little stiff now and then, but nothing to worry about. I don't feel like it effects my riding at all. The best advice I can give is that when you get the pin out and are told to do exercises, DO THEM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! Your thumb will be very stiff and have a very poor range of motion. You should stretch it as much as you can. The more that you do it, the sooner you will get back to riding. After a certain amount of time, the range of motion will no longer change as it fully heals. I also purchased a mitt/glove called an exersox that you put over your whole hand and wrist that is fully water proof. That way I could swim in my pool for the summer! Good luck! THUMBS UP!

  3. #3
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    Great fun isn't it? I didn't have the UCL fixed, but rather opted to fuse the entire MCP joint. No exposed pins- it's all internal and permanent.

    Doc wsa cool though- he let me bring handle bars with a new grip to pre-op to make sure my new grip position on my thumb would fit the bike.

  4. #4
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    Is this a permanent fixture - or can they repair the ligament eventually? I am currently wearing a brace on right thumb, though I do not think I have it completely detached -had an old fracture there that did not heal completely straight, so joint is a bit loose. I think I will better have a it loose then fused..

    P.S. These reference claims you can reconstruct it even much later: ref. I sure hope to not need any fusion.
    Last edited by Broccoli; 04-29-2009 at 12:44 PM.

  5. #5
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    My repair is permanent. I had alot of degeneration of the articular surfaces of the MCP joit. That is the middle joit in the thumb. Ligament repair was an option, but the degeneration was bad enough the joint would likely have remained stiff and painful. I've already dealt with that for too long so I opted to fuse.
    Not an easy decision for sure. Hopefully yours resolves with less hassle than this.

  6. #6
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    Not quite as bad

    Mine was a partial detachment of the ligament in the left thumb. If I'd landed on it a little harder it would have come loose, the doctor said that it was a "gamekeeper's thumb" injury. But no fracture.

    Wearing the thumb brace was a PITA. I was able to do some but not all of my job. Lucky for me my boss was decent about it.

    Mine has healed well since December. I have a reduced range of motion and the joint pops a lot more than it used to. That's not a problem but it hurts to shift if I'm not careful how I put the load on the joint. Pressing straight is OK, but not on the side of the thumb.

    Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

    Walt

  7. #7
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    New cast yesterday. Feels better. I can actually use my fingers for stuff without hurting the thumb. 4 weeks to go in this one.

  8. #8
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    Cast is OFF!

    Cast came off yesterday. Lovely. Got in a quick 15 miles on the road bike and felt great. Fusion has healed well and I look forward to some good miles. Still no Mountain bike due to shoulder rehab (no major jarring allowed), but being on the road will help me get my head and body back in shape.

    Nasty scar, but other than that I feel good. Range of motion should improve quickly now that I can move.

  9. #9
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    It is so good to use hands, isn't it.

    I got rid of my splint. Doc said not much use for surgery. Lost a bit of range of motion and a bit of stability, but should rehab it.

    Their pinch strength test machine is designed for old ladies. I feel like I have half the strength in the right hand, but maxed it out easily with both hands.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertDoc
    Cast came off yesterday. Lovely. Got in a quick 15 miles on the road bike and felt great. Fusion has healed well and I look forward to some good miles. Still no Mountain bike due to shoulder rehab (no major jarring allowed), but being on the road will help me get my head and body back in shape.

    Nasty scar, but other than that I feel good. Range of motion should improve quickly now that I can move.
    You are on the friggin home stretch! Every step forward is positive! Before you know it, you'll be hitting the trails like before and feeling great! Congrats on the NEXT STEP! Make sure to still be very patient though.

  11. #11
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    Thumbs are nice!

    Tied my own tie for church yesterday. Buttoned my own pants too. Coooool....

    Amazing what a difference opposable thumbs make when they work.

    Riding again tomorrow AM. Looking for about 45 miles. Feels great to be out there.

  12. #12
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    Just had my UCL repaired 2 weeks ago. Hurts like a bugger. How long before you were able to ride?

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    Count on a good couple months unfortunately. Do as much stretching as possible and thumb exercises. Last summer is when I tore mine and I couldn't ride until the fall. All set now and it's been a little over a year. Lucky that it is almost winter I guess. You should be good to go Feb is my guess. Just don't push it or you'll be out longer! Good luck playing the waiting game!

  14. #14
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    thumb surgery recovery

    Hi group, I have a torn Ulnar ligament in both thumbs! the right is the worst but I wish I could do both at the same time. I broke my right navicular bone and that was a miserable recovery 6 weeks cast 7 weeks in a splint etc...

    What I would love to understand is why you can't ride for 2 months, seems like you should be able to ride on the road (easy-medium pace) I'm already bummed about the concept of not working out upper body, but no riding at all?

    Would you all say 3 months until you can work at a semi normal pace? The reason I'm asking, I'm a freelance photographer and if I can't work, I can't make any cash!!!!

    Thanks David

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfphoto
    Hi group, I have a torn Ulnar ligament in both thumbs! the right is the worst but I wish I could do both at the same time. I broke my right navicular bone and that was a miserable recovery 6 weeks cast 7 weeks in a splint etc...

    What I would love to understand is why you can't ride for 2 months, seems like you should be able to ride on the road (easy-medium pace) I'm already bummed about the concept of not working out upper body, but no riding at all?

    Would you all say 3 months until you can work at a semi normal pace? The reason I'm asking, I'm a freelance photographer and if I can't work, I can't make any cash!!!!

    Thanks David
    I think the reason that people are told not to ride for several months is that the thumb takes a long time to fully heal. I was told by the specialist that it would take about a year to be 100% strength. I didn't want to risk tearing it again and having to start from scratch, so I waited for about three months and then was still fairly careful. I would say that road riding would be OK if you didn't grip the handlebars with your thumb. The problem you will have is both of your thumbs are trashed and it's pretty hard to ride a bike without gripping with either hand! Braking becomes a real problem. I feel for you man.....good luck!

  16. #16
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    Recovery, Riding and Work

    Hi all. Been an interesting year. In regards to Recovery time: I was on my road bike after 4 weeks. Hed a few painful shots from hitting potholes and such but the riding was worth it. I was about 3 months healing due to the bone fusion that was part of my surgery. I never got back on the MTB this year. My shoulder surgeon rocommended against it and I stuck to his advice on that one.

    Best advice regarding work: Do it unless it causes pain. If it's causing you pain you could damage the results of your procedure. The movement of the thumb naturally places a huge amount of stress on the attachment of the ligament.

    On the upside - I was able to log many miles this summer on the road bike. I capped my season by participating in an event known as the "I Think I Canyons" ride in Salt Lake City. The ride is all road, climbs 4 canyons (Litle Cottonwood, Big Cottonwood, Millcreek and Emmigration) for a total of 12,000 vertiacal feet and 110 miles. I finished in just over 8 hours including a nice lunch break.

    My thumb is great. Even with the fusion I don't feel it has slowed me down in my normal day to day life. Really looking forward to mountain biking again next year. I was very weird to visit moab this year and only ride road.

    Good luck to all of you on recovery.
    DIPLOMACY: It's the art of letting others have my way...

  17. #17
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    Bumping this up. I have had three surgeries on my right thumb. First was a ucl reconstruction and the other two were to clean out scar tissue. Been riding a ton and working with my hands. Thinking I need to get it fused. Any first hand experience of riding/racing with a fused thumb?

    Thanks.

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