One of the most common hand injuries from skiing is Skier’s Thumb, which occurs when the strong band of ligamentous tissue that supports the joint where the thumb meets the palm nearest the index finger is torn. This usually happens as a result of breaking a fall with the thumb and levering away from the index finger (as when holding a ski pole).
Normally icing, elevation and splinting are enough to lead to recovery from this type of injury. However, U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn’s recent hand injury (see link) – which she suffered as a result of cutting herself on a broken champagne bottle – is an example of an injury to the hand that requires immediate surgery in order to heal properly. Ironically enough, Vonn’s injury occurred during a party celebrating her world championship victories in the super-G and downhill competition and may actually be enough to keep her from competing in additional contests in the coming days.
Vonn underwent a surgery on Tuesday to repair a tendon in her right thumb and is currently wearing a splint that holds her thumb in place. If her splint was designed so that her thumb could fit around a ski pole, she should theoretically still be able to grip the ski pole and compete. That being said, Vonn’s hopes of starting the Saturday slalom and competing in the World Cup races the following weekend in Tarvisio, Italy seem entirely plausible – though it could be a painful experience.
So, in order to protect your fingers and your hands, remember to drop those ski poles in case of a fall on the slopes and to be careful around broken champagne bottles!