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J Hand Surg Am. 2008 May-Jun;33(5):760-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2008.01.037.

Radial collateral ligament injuries of the thumb.

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  • 1New York University-Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, NY 10003, USA.


Radial collateral ligament (RCL) injuries of the thumb are relatively common although they are less common than ulnar collateral ligament injuries, which make up 10% to 42% of collateral ligament injuries of the thumb. The RCL is especially important for pinch movements and for movements of depression. Complete disruption of the RCL can result in both static and dynamic instability, which can lead to a predictable sequence of a painful deformity resulting in articular degeneration. Most authors agree that both acute and chronic grade 3 RCL tears should be surgically treated. There are various methods of repair or reconstruction of the RCL that yield satisfactory results, providing radial stability and intending to preclude the appearance of degenerative disease of the metacarpophalangeal joint. This article reviews the anatomy, physiology, diagnosis, and treatment, including surgical technique, for RCL injuries of the thumb.

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