The thumb knuckle joint (the metacarpophalangeal joint) is supported by two important ligaments, the radial and ulnar collateral ligaments. These are commonly injured in sports injuries such as playing rugby, netball or skiing and snowboarding. The ulnar collateral ligament is particularly important in helping the thumb act as a post to support pinch grip. If this ligament ruptures, it may become stuck in the muscle underneath it. When that happens it usually won’t repair itself, and the thumb can become weak and buckle with time. This can cause patients to drop things, and lose the function of their thumb.

Mr Wharton offers expert assessment and investigation of thumb ligament injuries. This often requires an ultrasound or an MRI scan. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, a splint can be applied for sprains; or surgery may be recommended for a full thickness rupture. The surgery is performed as a day case under general or regional (nerve block around the shoulder) or local anaesthetic. The detached ligament is freshened up, and pulled back down onto the bone using a bone anchor. For injuries that are older the ligament may have shortened, and a reinforcement or reconstruction might be necessary using an artificial ligament made of very strong suture material, or even using a tendon graft from the front of the wrist. After the surgery a plaster cast is usually applied for a couple of weeks, and a protective splint is recommended which can be removed for gentle exercises. The patient should elevate their hand for at least five days, and keep the wound dry for at least two weeks.

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury or is experiencing pain in their hand or wrist and would like a consultant-led review, please contact us. Grosvenor Orthopaedics have extensive experience in the treatment of this condition with excellent patient outcomes.


Grosvenor Orthopaedics have extensive experience in the treatment of hip -related injuries with excellent patient outcomes.


If you would like to learn about other hand & wrist conditions click the button below

our specialist HAND & WRIST consultants

Hand and Wrist care at Grosvenor Orthopaedics is lead by Mr Rupert Wharton who is a Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic surgeon with an NHS base at Kingston Hospital. He is further supported by the orthopaedic team here including other consultant surgeons, nurses and care staff.

Our team are well placed to manage and treat a diverse range of hand and wrist concerns utilising cutting edge diagnostic technology and treatment approaches, both surgical and conservative. Below is an overview of some of the conditions we treat but for a more thorough understanding please contact our team here

Mr Rupert Wharton

Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic surgeon

Dip Hand Surg (Br and Eur) | BOA Future Leaders Programme 2023 | FEBHS
Rupert Wharton is a Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic surgeon with an NHS base at Kingston Hospital. He has an interest in injuries and degenerative conditions of the hand and wrist, and works closely with hand therapy colleagues to ensure all non operative solutions have been tried before considering surgery.

What some of our patients say

Mrs MA

Thank you for taking care of me. You went above and beyond and I am so touched and grateful. My knee feels fine now