Kate's Comment

Thoughts on British ICT, energy & environment, cloud computing and security from Memset's MD

Skiiers thumb (torn ulnar collateral ligament)

So on Sunday, the second day of our week’s skiing in Whistler Blackcomb, I had my first and last incident of the skiing season yesterday. Izzy and I were doing a double-black diamond in very low vis (low cloud). We did the hard part just fine and it was quite smooth. She had stopped and I thought I had a straight traverse to regroup with her.

Unfortunately there was a very deep saddle between us. My MOD Recon clocked a daily max speed at 77kph, presumably as I exited the bottom of the dip. I so nearly held it, but then hit a small (invisible due to low cloud and low light) mogul field at speed. Full pitch-pole, ass-over-tip, and my right ski pole didn’t quite detach in time.

Irritatingly, having hurt my hand due to ski poles in the past, I had invested in some high-end Lekis with straps/bindings that go around your hand with a small hoop on between your thumb and index finger. The poles then clip into that loop, and part of the idea of the design is that they auto-detach when too much force goes through them. My right pole did detach, but clearly too late.

Net result: in the doctor’s words, “one of the most important ligament in my body, the one that separates humans from Neanderthals” (the one that stabilises the thumb while you grip stuff with it) has ripped a chunk of bone off my thumb at its insertion point.


Yesterday I had exploratory surgery in Vancouver to fix it. They were not sure if it would need repair but it turns out it was actually a bit worse than expected. As per the image on the left (source) I had completely severed my ulnar collateral ligament.

However, before fixing that they had to expose the re-attachment point by cutting through my adductor pollicis (the muscles that goes from the middle finger metacarpal to the mid-point of your thumb which allows you to pinch). So the net result is that I now have a small titanium screw in my thumb phalanx, and sutures holding my ulnar collateral ligament and my adductor pollicis together – on my right hand as Sod’s law would have it!

If I had been doing something truly stupid I’d be less miffed but I don’t think I really earned this one. Oh well, shit happens!!

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