The ligaments of the thumb may be injured with acute (immediate) injuries or slowly over time (chronic attenuation). Acute injuries to the thumb metacarpal-phalangeal joint (MCP joint) may occur after falling or during athletics such as basketball, football, or skiing. The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) often ruptures during athletic injury. Occasionally, the radial collateral ligament (RCL) may be injured. Treatment may involve thumb spica splinting (immobilization) to allow for healing, followed by subsequent mobilization under the guidance of a physician. However, with more severe injuries, a physician may discuss surgical treatment instead of nonoperative treatment after a physical examination of the thumb. Surgical repair may involve the placement of a bone anchor to reattach the ruptured ligament. With chronic injuries, physicians may discuss ligamentous reconstruction techniques involving the utilization of a tendon graft.
The decision regarding nonoperative versus operative treatment is complex and should be discussed with your treating physician. Outcomes after surgery vary and risks and benefits should be discussed in detail with your treating physician. Nonoperative treatment also carries risks and benefits which should be discussed with your treating physician.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to covey, substitute or supplant any medical advice. In order to establish a treating relationship, please schedule and complete your visits with a licensed physician.
Copyright 12/9/2021 Tanay Amin, MD
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