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Skiers thumb recovery
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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Jan 26, 2014
Sure, I can belay

So like an idiot I tore the ulnar collateral ligament of my R thumb yesterday making a death slide type descent of Big Chute at Crested Butte. Anyone willing to share personal experiences of how soon they were able to resume climbing, skiing, hangboard, campusing, etc after surgical repair? Any insights appreciated!


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By MikeSLC
Jan 27, 2014

A season of slab climbing may be in your future.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Jan 27, 2014
Sure, I can belay

MikeSLC wrote:
A season of slab climbing may be in your future.


Not if I can help it!

"A chance to cut is a chance to cure"


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By Cor
Jan 27, 2014
black nasty

Could be as little as a month to come back.. (From my old experiences.)
See if you have good improvement in a week or so, and then decide if
you need to take any further action (knife??)
Mostly it will be the pinching grip thingy. Crimp on flat edges should be ok..

Good luck though, as those always suck!

C


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By Ryan Huetter
From Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jan 27, 2014
From Mountain Magazine (Bruce Carson's first clean ascent of Sentinal Rock's West Face)

Have you already established that it is a full or partial tear, and that you are a surgery candidate?
I had a partial tear last January and with a combination of a thumb brace and 8 weeks of PT (as well as all the exercises done at home), I was at 80% or so. Took a couple more months to regain full mobility and strength.

Skiing should't be a problem- while BC skiing/skinning I just put one pole away so I wouldn't be tempted. When your PT makes your brace for you you can hold a pole in the hand so that you get the grip position you would like.

Climbing- no! It is all the little things that you wouldn't think about that are really stressful on the UCL (it took a specific strength exercise that me and my PT came up with to work on clipping a rope into a biner with the hand in question.)
Same with hang boarding- your UCL gets pulled on even when hanging on fingers.

The things that really suck though are the simplest things- zippers, and zip lock bags were super painful!

Good luck.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Jan 27, 2014
Sure, I can belay

Thanks for the info.

I have a complete tear and am getting surgery this afternoon.

When I picked myself up at the bottom of the run, I was thinking, "man my thumb hurts, must have sprained it" So I pull off my glove and it's sticking out sideways. Before I reflected further, I thought "hope this goes back in easily" grabbed the thumb and reduced it. I have zero stability, could easily pull it back out if I wanted to, but honestly it makes me too queasy! My big regret is that I didn't get a photo first. But my reaction was pure reflex.


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By Taylor-B.
From CO & AK
Jan 27, 2014
Mt. Churchill, University Range

Check out this procedure thesteadmanclinic.com/bone-marrow-cell-concentrate-platelet->>>
And this Doc thesteadmanclinic.com/dr-randy-viola.asp


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By Tom Lausch
From Madison WI
Jan 27, 2014
Orgasm Direct

I tore mine last year transitioning off a rail skiing. Got an MRI and they put a cast on it. 6 weeks later they took it off and I started PT. After following my PTs advice to a T for the next 3 weeks. Now I am just as strong as I was before. Dont push it is my advice. You have the rest of your life to go climbing. Dont ruin it by tring to push it.

Take this with a grain of salt as I am now suffering from a torn MCl as a result of another skiing wipeout.


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By JEFFisNOTfunny
Jan 28, 2014

A few years ago... I had the same injury. Is it a clean ligament tare? or did it rip a piece of the bone with it?

Mine was the latter, I did it while riding dirt jumps on my mountain bike... nasty fall combined with the handlebars ripping my thumb back... etc.

It was probably 3 weeks after my injury before I had my surgery (which is a long time, because the ligament starts to retract towards the base of the thumb). Additionally, I wasn't climbing at that point either, but I can relate how long it took to get back on a downhill or dirtjump bike.

At approximately 3 weeks after the injury I had my surgery. It was apparently a success (according to my doctor). I had a month in hard casts. Each appointment, they cut it off to check motion and wound healing.

As soon as I was out of the hard cast I began occupational therapy. I went three days a week and did all the home exercises. The home training is probably just as important as what you do in therapy. The home therapy included stretching and strengthening with puddy.

It took some time, but I think it was around 2 months after the injury that I began to ride again (with a substantial brace). The limiting factor at that point was hand strength. Riding downhill runs, my hand was beyond pumped.

The risk in pushing two hard is you can re-injure the ligament or rip the pin holding the ligament out of the bone.

All said and done... approx 2.5-4 months after surgery to begin riding for me... almost a year before I felt full strength. The scars will give you motion issues and cold issues for longer.

Good luck... don't give up hope. You will get better.


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