Campbell originally coined the term gamekeeper's thumb in 1955,1 because this condition was most commonly associated with Scottish gamekeepers, especially rabbit keepers, in whom the injury was work related. The injury occurred as the men sacrificed game such as rabbits; the animals' necks were broken between the ground and the gamekeeper's thumb and index fingers. As a result, a valgus force was placed onto the abducted metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint, leading to an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury and resulting in instability that was accompanied by pain and weakness of the pinch grasp. (See also the eMedicine article Gamekeeper Thumb.)
In the present day, this type of injury is typically more acute. The most common mechanism is a skier landing on the ground with his or her hand braced on a ski pole, causing a valgus force on the thumb. The term skier's thumb reflects the acute nature of the injury.
Synonyms and related keywords: metacarpal fracture and dislocation, metacarpophalangeal joint dislocation, MCP joint dislocation, phalangeal fracture, skier's thumb, instability of the thumb, Stener lesion, ulnar collateral ligament tear, UCL tear, proper collateral ligament tear, thumb injury, thumb pain, gamekeeper's fracture, thumb instability
Hannibal & Roger 2007