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Emergency Medical Minute


Feb 15, 2019

Author: Ryan Circh, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Ulnar collateral ligament injury is often called gamekeeper’s thumb or skier’s thumb
  • Can results from traumatic deviating the thumb radially (abduction)
  • Poor rabbits
  • Have a low threshold for referral to hand surgery for follow up - treatment for minor injuries can be conservative but more severe require surgery to preserve function
  • This injury should be placed in a thumb spica splint
  • Radiographs are often negative unless an avulsion fracture is present

Editor’s note: to test for UCL injuries, I like this.


Schroeder NS, Goldfarb CA. Thumb ulnar collateral and radial collateral ligament injuries. Clin Sports Med. 2015 Jan;34(1):117-26. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2014.09.004. Epub 2014 Oct 11. Review. PubMed PMID: 25455399.

Madan SS, Pai DR, Kaur A, Dixit R. Injury to ulnar collateral ligament of thumb. Orthop Surg. 2014 Feb;6(1):1-7. doi: 10.1111/os.12084. Review. PubMed PMID: 24590986.

Summarized by Travis Barlock, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD