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Radial Collateral Ligament of the Thumb Injury

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Other Names

  • RCL Thumb Injury
  • Thumb RCL





Risk Factors

Differential Diagnosis

Clinical Features



The classification of MCP collateral ligament injuries is critical to the guidance of proper management. RCL and UCL injuries utilize the same three stage classification system as follows {1-4}:

  • Grade 1: Incomplete tear of the RCL with only few torn fibers – tenderness to palpation and without laxity present on stressing examination
  • Grade 2: Incomplete tear of the RCL with a greater number of torn fibers present – increased tenderness to palpation at the radial aspect of the MCP, more prominent swelling and the presence of laxity on stressing but with a definitive end point.
  • Grade 3: Complete tear of the RCL – tenderness to palpation, swelling and prominent instability/laxity with no end point on stressing examination





Rehab and Return to Play


Return to Play


See Also


  1. LM;, Rozmaryn. “The Collateral Ligament of the Digits of the Hand: Anatomy, Physiology, Biomechanics, Injury, and Treatment.” The Journal of Hand Surgery, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29101974/.
  2. Netscher, David T, et al. “Finger Injuries in Ball Sports.” Hand Clinics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27886829.
  3. RG;, Daley D;Geary M;Gaston. “Thumb Metacarpophalangeal Ulnar and Radial Collateral Ligament Injuries.” Clinics in Sports Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2020, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32115093/.
  4. SK;, Edelstein DM;Kardashian G;Lee. “Radial Collateral Ligament Injuries of the Thumb.” The Journal of Hand Surgery, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2008, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18590860/.
Created by:
John Kiel on 9 August 2020 15:22:06
Last edited:
14 November 2020 22:13:46