Dropping the Hammer: An Uncommon Case of Right-Hand Pain in a Professional Hockey Player

Donald Kasitinon, Robert J. Dimeff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A 26-year-old, right-handed male professional hockey player presented for a second opinion with dysesthesia of the tips of his right third, fourth, and fifth fingers after 2 previous incidents of hyperextension injuries to his right wrist while holding his hockey stick. Radiographs and computed tomography scans were negative for fracture. After magnetic resonance angiography and Doppler ultrasound imaging, the athlete was diagnosed with hypothenar hammer syndrome (HHS) with ulnar artery aneurysm and thrombosis. He underwent successful surgery with ligation and excision of the aneurysmal, thrombosed ulnar artery and was able to return to hockey 4 weeks after surgery. HHS is thought to be a rare posttraumatic digital ischemia from thrombosis and/or aneurysm of the ulnar artery and was traditionally considered an occupational injury but has been reported more frequently among athletes. There have only been 2 previous case reports of hockey players diagnosed with HHS, and in the previous 2 case reports, both involved repetitive trauma from the hockey stick, which resulted in thrombotic HHS. We present a case of a professional hockey player diagnosed with HHS also due to repetitive trauma from the hockey stick, but this time resulting in aneurysmal HHS with thromboembolism. This case report highlights the importance of keeping HHS in the differential diagnosis in athletes with pain, cold sensitivity, and paresthesia in their fingers with or without a clear history of repetitive trauma to the hypothenar eminence, as HHS is a condition with good outcomes after proper treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-241
Number of pages4
JournalSports Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • hockey
  • hypothenar hammer syndrome
  • repetitive hypothenar trauma
  • ulnar artery aneurysm
  • ulnar artery thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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