Most cases of skiers thumb occur when the digit is bent out of its normal range of movement - usually backwards - and damage occurs to the ligaments that support the joint where is meets the hand (the metacarpo-phalangeal joint).
Skiers thumb usually happens when you fall, and in arresting your fall the digit gets bent backwards. It's also common in other sports such as basketball, rugby, and the martial arts.
Symptoms of skiers thumb include:
- Pain around the base of the thumb
- Pain when the thumb it is moved.
- Swelling around the joint at the bottom of the thumb
- Laxity and instability in the joint
If there is extreme laxity, then the tendons may have ruptured, in which case surgery may be required. In most cases, however, more conservative treatment will effect healing. Options include:
- Resting the joint
- Supportive taping
An injury such as this will typically heal in 4 to 6 weeks. You will then need to follow a program of strengthening exercises to restore stability and prevent re-injury.