A thumb injury has added to the stresses of what is going to be a long Tampa Bay Rays season. Today, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Kevin Kiermaier will have surgery for a torn ligament in his right thumb from a slide into second base yesterday.
A torn thumb ligament or other thumb injury is not uncommon in sports or in the personal injury arena. A thumb injury can occur from a work comp claim, slip/trip and fall or even a car accident. Here’s how:
According to Central Jersey Hand Specialists, digital ligament injuries are commonly the result of jamming type sports injuries or falls that force the finger into a bent backward or sideways position. The collateral ligaments, which stabilize the finger joints along the sides, are most commonly injured. This can present with various degrees of severity, ranging from stretching, partial tears, or complete tears. It is reported that Kevin Kiermaier either sustained a partial tear or complete tear.
Typically, hand ligament injuries or a thumb injury can be treated conservatively without surgery. Treatment would include splinting, ice, elevation, and anti-inflammatory medication. Hand therapy may be required to help control swelling and regain mobility and function of the digit. According the Central Jersey Hand Specialists, surgery is only rarely required and is reserved for cases of complete ligament tears with instability (or likely for those who earn a living grasping and throwing a baseball).
Another type of thumb injury is called a Gamekeeper’s or Skier’s Thumb. This often occurs from a fall onto the outstretched thumb. This can also happen in a car accident. The trauma can cause a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament at the metacarpal-phalangeal joint. Three grades of this thumb injury can occur depending on the severity of the impact, and each is determined by the stability of the joint.
Grade I injuries are a sprain of the ligament, and can often be treated by splinting for a four to six week period. Grade II level injuries indicate a partial tear of the ligament that is more severe, but no instability is noted on stress testing of the ligament. These can also be treated with either cast or splint immobilization, but generally require a longer period of protection, and possibly hand therapy afterward. Grade III injuries indicate the highest level of trauma with a complete tear of the ligament. An MRI is often useful in determining the extent of the ligament damage. Prompt surgical intervention is required for repair or reconstruction of the torn ulnar collateral ligament, which is done on an outpatient basis. Post operative immobilization and rehabilitative hand therapy is necessary to maximize functional recovery. According to the experts, prognosis for recovery from this injury is usually good with proper surgical treatment, but untreated cases can lead to chronic instability and the development of painful debilitating arthritis of the joint.
Like Kevin Kiermaier, if you suffer a thumb injury from a car accident (whether it be a blow to the thumb or caused when the airbags deploy), you should seek medical care right away to minimize the long-term effects the thumb injury can cause. Delay could keep you off the playing field or behind the steering wheel for substantially longer if treated promptly.
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. He is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or complete the form on this page or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.