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Physical Therapy for Skier’s Thumb


Thumb injuries are quite common, especially among skiers. During a fall, a skier’s thumb can easily catch against the ski pole, resulting in a tear of the ligament that stabilizes the thumb. This ligament, known as the ulnar collateral ligament, normally keeps the thumb from pointing too far away from the hand.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the extent of the tear. To repair a partial tear, wearing a cast or modified splint for four to six weeks might be sufficient. For a full tear, especially where a person experiences significant instability, surgery may be needed to reattach the torn ends of the ligament.
Usually, surgery performed within the first few weeks following the tear offers the best outcome. A cast afterwards provides protection while the torn ligament heals. This is an ideal time to see us to design a rehabilitative program. After your cast is removed, gentle motion can usually start.

Suggested exercises typically focus on helping you to:

  • normalize strength
  • regain flexibility
  • enhance coordination
  • improve range of motion

By following the program, you can expect to return to skiing or playing sports approximately three to four months after surgery. It is crucial that you avoid stressful postures or any direct forces during the rehabilitation phase to give the ligament enough time to properly heal.

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Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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