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Accelerated rehabilitation following thumb ulnar collateral ligament repair with suture tape augmentation: A case series of professional basketball players

Published:August 06, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jht.2022.07.007

      Highlights

      • We study professional basketball players with thumb ulnar collateral injury.
      • Patients are treated with internal brace augmentation.
      • Patients undergo a novel accelerated rehabilitation protocol post-operatively.
      • Our patients successfully return to sport within 5-6 weeks.

      Abstract

      Study Design

      Case series.

      Introduction

      Rehabilitation protocols following thumb metacarpophalangeal (MCP) ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) repair typically do not allow for return to sport until 12 weeks post-surgery. The potential for accelerated rehabilitation following thumb MCP UCL repair with suture tape augmentation has yet to be explored.

      Purpose of the Study

      To describe the accelerated rehabilitation following thumb MCP UCL repair with the suture tape augmentation in professional basketball players.

      Methods

      Three professional basketball players underwent thumb MCP UCL repair with suture tape augmentation. The athletes followed an accelerated rehabilitation program post-surgery that began with range-of-motion exercises at 2-3 days, proximal strengthening at 7-10 days, grip/pinch strengthening at 1-2 weeks, followed by progressive sport specific intervention with a custom orthosis.

      Results

      At 5-6 weeks post-surgery, active thumb MCP range of motion returned to 83%-100%, grip strength to 81%-100%, and tripod pinch strength to 73%-78% of the contralateral side. All athletes successfully returned to sport within 5-6 weeks post-surgery.

      Discussion/Conclusion

      This is the first clinical application of an accelerated rehabilitation protocol in athletes following thumb MCP UCL repair. In this series, professional basketball players were able to return to sport in half the routine recovery time. Further prospective studies re-thinking current rehabilitation protocols are warranted.

      Keywords

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