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Thumb UCL Stress Test

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Other Names

Thumb UCL Stress Test
Illustration of how to perform the UCL stress test.[1]
  • Thumb Abduction Stress Test
  • Thumb MCP Joint Ulnar Collateral Ligament Test
  • Valgus stress test thumb
  • Valgus stress test UCL



  • The patient is seated or standing
  • Examiner grasps the thumb at the metacarpal and proximal phalanx maintaining the MCP joint in extension
  • The examiner then applies an ulnar stress by abducting the proximal phalanx relative to the metacarpal
  • Angle of assessment
    • Joint should be assessed in full extension to evaluate both the proper and accessory collateral ligament
    • At 30° flexion, primarily stresses the proper collateral ligament
  • Comparison should be made to unaffected thumb
  • Positive test:
    • Increased pain with abduction
    • Lack of clear end point
    • Laxity compared to other thumb, typically > 30°



  • Unknown

See Also


  1. Leggit JC et al. Acute finger injuries: Part II. Fractures, dislocations, and thumb injuries. Am Fam Physician. 2006;73(5):827-834
Created by:
John Kiel on 9 July 2019 13:17:53
Last edited:
25 May 2023 06:28:53