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Thread: Rehab from "skier's thumb" injury.

  1. #1
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    Rehab from "skier's thumb" injury.

    DATELINE: Feb. 25, 2012, Hayward Wisconsin.
    I took a spill during the Birkiebiner cross-country ski race and tore a tendon in my thumb. I've since learned that this is a somewhat common injury called "skier's thumb". I had surgery to re-attach the tendon to the bone (using a screw), and then I had my hand placed in a cast for four weeks.

    Just got the cast off today (finally!). I thought about trying to swim this evening, but came to the conclusion that I'm clearly not strong enough to put even minimal pressure on my thumb yet.

    If anybody has experience recovering from a similar injury, I'd really like to hear about your experience. Specifically, at what point does swimming feel good and not painful?

    I'm looking forward to getting back in the game.

    Thanks,
    Kevin LeRoy

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Rehab from "skier's thumb" injury.

    Do you think swimming with paddles would help?

    I hurt my thumb skiing a few years ago. Not to the extent you did, but I do remember it took a really long time to heal. Don't push it or it will take even longer is my best advice.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Rehab from "skier's thumb" injury.

    I have had friends with this injury. That is why I have poles WITHOUT straps, just the hand grip with a wrap around portion that keeps the pole on you & pops off when needed.

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    Re: Rehab from "skier's thumb" injury.

    Had a similar injury in early December. Mine did not require surgery only a cast for 6 weeks. My thumb was quite weak following cast removal. Try working on thumb mobility outside the pool. On the bright side no stroke that I can think of is the same method of injury. The hand pushing against the water, such as in the catch phase, is actually opposite to the method of injury (in my case at least). Good luck on your recovery and congrats on getting the cast off, that was the biggest step for me!

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    Re: Rehab from "skier's thumb" injury.

    Update: my first time in the pool was 2 weeks after that cast came of. After 5 or 6 strokes, it was obvious that that was too soon. I finished the 50, and then grabbed a kick-board.

    10 days after that, I swam 300 yards. It felt great. But I decided it was best to quite while ahead. I grabbed the board. I ended up kicking 400 and then another 600 w/ fins. I think it's been two decades since I've done that much kicking. Ouch.

  6. #6
    Participating Member xiaoh's Avatar
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    Re: Rehab from "skier's thumb" injury.

    I have not experienced this particular injury but have had experience with discomfort in my left thumb after I was practicing pulling incorrectly for
    a few sessions. I found that practicing fist-closed freestyle swimming quite comforting to the thumb and (beneficial to my swimming) during that time.

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    Very Active Member Celestial's Avatar
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    Re: Rehab from "skier's thumb" injury.

    I've never torn a tendon - but I have recently had carpal tunnel release in both hands - and transposition of the ulnar nerve in both elbows (less than a month ago). It is amazing how much we use our thumbs, isn't it?!! I know my recovery is light years faster than yours, but I can tell you that although it looks/feels bleak at this point, it is amazing how each day it gets a little bit better. Remember not to do any twisting motions (opening jars is my issue still) during the day. I've tried using paddles & found that was a big no no. I have also discovered that if I try and swim "locking" my thumb next to the hand, that it helps a wee bit. Hang in there!

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: Rehab from "skier's thumb" injury.

    Quote Originally Posted by Celestial View Post
    I've never torn a tendon - but I have recently had carpal tunnel release in both hands - and transposition of the ulnar nerve in both elbows (less than a month ago). It is amazing how much we use our thumbs, isn't it?!! I know my recovery is light years faster than yours, but I can tell you that although it looks/feels bleak at this point, it is amazing how each day it gets a little bit better. Remember not to do any twisting motions (opening jars is my issue still) during the day. I've tried using paddles & found that was a big no no. I have also discovered that if I try and swim "locking" my thumb next to the hand, that it helps a wee bit. Hang in there!
    Opening jars with with paddles on is really hard to do even with good thumbs - i can't even adjust my goggles with out taking the paddles off.

    I've done the skiing thumb over-stretch more than once, but never torn the thumb tendon (saved that for knee meniscis). Thumb was very painful and swollen for week+, and as Celeste said, reminding one of how important opposing digits are. Might try taping around the top of the thumb to the pointer, if the tape wil stay on, as it would "fix" that end of the thumb and should cut the stress from pulling in half (i think) at the real fixed joint. Good luck with recoop for you both.
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go racin’ in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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