The ulnar collateral ligament is the strong band of tissue is attached to the middle joint of the thumb, the joint next to the web space of the thumb. A sprain of this ligament is most commonly known as Skier’s thumb, Gamekeeper’s thumb or Break-dancer’s thumb (Frontera, Silver and Rizzo, 2014). ¾ of all thumb injuries are UCL sprains.
Injury is caused when force pulls the thumb away from the hand (called a valgus force) can cause damage to the ulnar collateral ligaments. When the thumb is straight, the collateral ligaments are tight and stabilize the joint against valgus force. If the force is too strong, the ligaments can tear.
Classical injury occurs when a force (blow, pull) to the thumb happen; in sports it usually happens due to blocking, a fall, catching, repetitive abduction movement of the thumb (this includes holding rackets) (Frontera, Silver and Rizz0, 2014).
Mistreated this injury can lead to severe instability, pain and weakness in the joint. Initial treatment includes PRICE, non- steroidal inflammatories, a splint or cast and in severe cases surgery is necessary to stabilize the joint.
Frontera W.R., Silver J.K. and Rizzo T.D., 2014, Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation E-book, pp: 184- 185