Thumb Pain and Thumb Injuries
Most of us will suffer from thumb pain or injury at some point in our lives. And did you know that the most commonly injured part of the body is the hand and wrist? Whether caused by a single trauma to the area or a chronic repetitive motion injury, several conditions uniquely affect the thumb.
Here is a quick breakdown of some of the leading injuries that people might have:
A broken thumb frequently results from a single trauma, such as a fall or a direct hit to the thumb by a small, hard object. This injury, often seen in athletes, usually those that participate in contact sports. Most breaks to the thumb occur near the joints, where the bone is naturally more vulnerable. Individuals who suffer from calcium deficiency, which weakens the bones and people with a history of bone disease, are at higher risk of a broken thumb. A broken thumb can even cause premature arthritis in the thumb, affecting the functionality of the entire hand.
As opposed to a break at the joint of the thumb, a jammed thumb is an injured tendon or bone situated at the tip of the thumb, when it bends at an unnatural angle. Nearly always due to a single trauma, most often a contact sports injury that leads to the trauma suffered by the thumb. If the bone was fractured, additional medical intervention is necessary to properly reset the injury, but in cases where the tendon or ligaments are partially torn, rest and cryotherapy are the course of treatment.
A thumb sprain is a slight or partial tear in the main ligament of the thumb. Since your thumb is what allows you to grasp objects, resting the area to allow it to heal properly is essential – and difficult. Usually a wrist support brace with thumb support (called a thumb spica) aid in your healing. Generally several weeks will be recommended by your physician to allow the ligaments time to improve.
Gamekeeper’s thumb, also known as skier’s thumb, an injury of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) can present as either a chronic injury or as a traumatic (acute) injury. Today, this injury, common among skiers, results from holding the skiing pole for extended periods or from falling while still holding their pole.
Trigger Thumb and DeQuervain's
Trigger thumb and DeQuervain’s are other common thumb injuries. With trigger thumb your thumb catches in a locked position due to a narrowing of the sheath that encompasses the tendon of the thumb. DeQuervain’s a similar injury, results when the tendons around the thumb are constricted or irritated. With such similarities in affected areas of the thumb, these injuries are best diagnosed and treated by your doctor, as are all thumb injuries.
There are varieties of common injuries, but the common denominator of these is simple – how they are treated. See your doctor for a physical exam of the thumb and hand; take over the counter pain relievers with anti-inflammatory medicine. Use ice to reduce the swelling of the injured area and to keep the wrist and thumb immobilized, use a wrist splint with thumb brace.
For more information, click below: