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Skier's Thumb


Skier's thumb, or gamekeeper's thumb, is when a ligament in your thumb is twisted or torn. Ligaments are strong tissues that connect bones and keep your joints secure.



  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Support devices:

Support devices include a removable thumb cast, brace, or splint. These are used to decrease or prevent movement of your thumb so it can heal. They are also used to prevent further damage to your thumb. These devices may be worn for 3 to 6 weeks. This may be the only treatment you need if your injury is not severe.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return to have your wound checked and wires removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Hand therapy:

You may need to see a hand therapist to teach you special exercises after your hand has healed. These exercises help improve movement and decrease pain. Hand therapy can also help improve strength and decrease your risk for loss of function.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have numbness or tingling in your thumb or fingers.
  • You have trouble moving your thumb.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have severe thumb pain.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your thumb or fingers change color.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Skier's Thumb (Discharge Care)

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