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Ulnar Collateral Ligament (Skier's Thumb) Repair


The aim of surgery is to repair the ligament back onto its normal position and hence stabilise the thumb joint.


Surgery is recommended for:

  • Stener’s Lesions.
  • Complete tears with unstable joints.
  • Avulsion fractures.


Surgery is a day surgery performed under general anaesthesia. An incision is made on the inner border of the thumb. The torn ligament is identified and repaired back onto its normal position on the bone using 1 or 2 small anchors placed in the bone.

The stability and movement of the thumb is tested, and if satisfactory, then the operation is complete.

Local anaesthetic is used to numb the thumb (for pain relief) at the end of the case.

The thumb is placed in a plaster at the end of the case.


  • Day surgery procedure.
  • Wound is reviewed after 1-2 weeks.
  • Thumb is kept in cast full time for 4-6 weeks.
  • Part time splint is then worn for another 6 weeks when motion exercises are begun.
  • Return to sport is normally 8-12 weeks.


Successful results are seen in 90-95% of patients.

Risks and complications

These include:

  • Stiffness – Most patients will experience some stiffness which usually resolves with therapy.
  • Re-rupture.
  • Nerve Injury.