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4 Common Thumb Injuries – What To Know

So, you’ve injured your thumb. We all have, and we all know the pain that comes with a throbbing thumb. It could have been a hammer, maybe you jammed it, or just any other way you can hurt yourself. Thumb injuries can typically take some ice and see how you recover from there. However, there are some things you should take notice of to know if you should rush to get an x-ray. Getting proper attention can mean fixing an injury properly or having a lifetime of pain due to it being untreated. See what you can look out for if you ever injure yourself!

Types Of Thumb Injuries 

You can have several different types of thumb injuries occur. So, before you start second-guessing yourself, and thinking it might be an over-the-top diagnosis, let’s see what’s worth worrying about first. Know that just because you’re in pain the moment an injury occurs, it may be the only real pain and the worst part of the injury. However, sometimes you won’t feel any or just mild pain that could also be serious. So, it’s best to know general types of injuries so that you know just what to keep an eye out for when they do happen. 

Sprained/Jammed Thumb

Probably one of the most common thumb injuries that occur no matter what you do in life. It’s typically caused by an injury along the thumb’s main ligament called the ulnar collateral ligament. The injury pertains to over-stretching your thumb in any direction, most often in a backward direction. 

The most common symptom is pain. However, it may not all hit you right away. The more you move your thumb, the more the pain will come about and become apparent that you have strained it. If your thumb also feels lax or unstable, it could mean that there was a total rupture of the ligament and can require surgery. 

It’s best to seek professional help to confirm the diagnosis. In some cases, an x-ray is necessary to see the extent of the injury. These types of injuries are best seen by a professional since if they don’t heal correctly, then there’s a greater risk of re-injury. 

Broken/Fractured Thumb

This is a much more noticeable injury. You will feel the pain reach from your thumb through your wrist and even up your arm. Depending on the severity of the break or fracture, you will most likely have a noticeably unstable thumb. 

A cast may be enough to heal the injury and will be needed for 4-6 weeks. X-rays will be necessary to ensure the bones are properly aligned during the healing process. However, if the bone fragments have drifted too far from the break, then surgery can become necessary.

Basal Joint Arthritis 

Your thumb has cartilage that cushions and lubricates the joints and allows the bones within those joints to move without creating friction. BJA will occur when that cartilage wears away at the base of the thumb and the wrist. This causes a series of symptoms, including pain, stiffness, swelling, tenderness, decreased range, and worsening symptoms over time.  

Treatments include exercises, wearing a splint, or undergoing surgery to fuse, reposition or remove a joint.

Trigger Finger 

This seems to occur with repetitive gripping motions. This occurs when there’s inflammation along the outer part of a tendon within the thumb. Your thumb will lock in a bent position due to relative motions and use or during an injury. You can experience stiffness, pain, and a sore nodule at the base of the thumb, along with difficulty straightening it or a clicking or popping sensation when attempting to bend or straighten it. 

Treatment depends on the severity of the injury, and you may just need a splint to prevent movement. If the condition gets worse, then surgery may become required. 

RICE Method

The best kind of home remedy you can follow is the RICE method.

  • Rest– keep your thumb out of any major activity and be aware of everyday tasks that can cause further harm
  • Ice– applying ice in 10-15 minute intervals for the first day can do wonders with swelling and help the healing process
  • Compression – this will also help with swelling and give your thumb some support to prevent hurting it any further.
  • Elevation – keeping your hand elevated the first 24-28 can help reduce swelling as well

Country Club Urgent Care Can Help! 

Now that you know the variety of thumb injuries stay cautious if you feel any pain after the injury. The sooner you take notice of symptoms that are continuing, the sooner we can start helping you. 

We can diagnose and help with any broken bone injury. We also have top-of-the-line x-ray machines so we can pinpoint what’s wrong and where right away. Coming to us means a shorter wait time and having direct results right away. We also now offer telecare, so you can contact us from your smartphone or computer. Contact us today to get the treatment you need right away. 


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