A severe impact or hyper-extension of a joint in the hand causes a dislocated thumb. The most common cause of this injury is participating in sports. However, even if you are not playing sports, you may injure your thumb if you do too much work with your hands. For example, if you are repairing a car and need to remove bolts from their holes with a wrench while holding a wrench simultaneously, keeping the twist between your fingers can be dangerous because you may accidentally drop it or push it away with your thumb.
These are just two simple examples of how an injury of this type can occur during everyday activities. If you have ever hurt your thumb doing this or any other activity and wonder what happened, consult your doctor and get treatment before any problems develop into long-term damage that cannot be repaired or treated.
Since we use our thumbs for everyday activities, a dislocated thumb can leave you feeling off your game (especially if it's your dominant hand). Additionally, since the thumb is a highly active area, re-injuring it may become common. To prevent aggravation and promote optimal healing, read about the best options for treating a dislocated thumb (or any other type of dislocated finger).
Symptoms of a dislocated thumb
The symptoms of a dislocated thumb can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Some people may have mild symptoms, while others may have severe symptoms that interfere with their daily activities.
Common symptoms of a dislocated thumb include:
- Pain and swelling at the base of the thumb
- Deformity of the thumb joint
- Difficulty moving the thumb
- Numbness or tingling in the thumb
- Bruising around the thumb joint
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor immediately to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent further complications.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the symptoms of a dislocated thumb:
- The pain associated with a dislocated thumb is usually severe and immediate.
- The deformity of the thumb joint can be obvious, or it may be subtle.
- The difficulty moving the thumb can be mild or severe, depending on the severity of the dislocation.
- The numbness or tingling in the thumb is caused by pressure on the nerves that supply the thumb.
- The bruising around the thumb joint is caused by damage to the blood vessels.
Dislocated Thumb Treatment Options
When dealing with a dislocated thumb, it is important first to seek immediate medical advice. You don't want to risk dealing with a chronic deformity of the thumb that can quickly affect your ability to function normally in your day-to-day activities and beyond. Once you have an appropriate diagnosis and your dislocation has been reduced and stabilized, you can explore treatment options that can help restore function and function better than before.
Cold therapy can help in both swelling and pain treatment following an injury. Get a Sacksythyme's Cold therapy pack to use every few hours during the initial few days following your injury and even after (you will be able to reduce the frequency after swelling has subsided generally in 3 days). Use a thin shirt or dishcloth (not heavy towels) for a cold therapy pack between your skin and the cold pack.
SACKSY THYME Cold Therapy Pack for dislocated thumb:
The Sacksy Thyme Cold Therapy Pack is perfect for treating a dislocated thumb because it is smaller in size and easier to maneuver than a larger ice pack. It is also designed to fit comfortably around your thumb, which means you can continue your daily activities while wearing it. The pack is made with a soft, plush material that conforms to the shape of your thumb and provides a comfortable fit.
Remain in place for between 10 and 20 minutes at a time. If you have an ice cup, apply it directly to the area of injury and move it around in small circular movements for five to 10 minutes or until your area feels completely numb. The aim is to relieve pain and numbness; when you've reached this through either technique, you can take off the cold pack to avoid frostbite.
If you want more relief, consider a gentle hand massage or lotion for your pain (before or after applying a cold pack).
Bracing or Splinting
A dislocated thumb joint means that the stability of the local tissue is compromised because of excessive stretching. To ease healing and restore the stability of the damaged thumb. Immobilization by taping with a buddy or using a brace or splint is likely to stabilize the thumb in a normal position and stabilize broken bones.
While local stabilization is necessary, your physician recommends braces that support the wrist. Many of the tendons for the thumb that are affected may also be connected to the wrist joint. Follow your doctor's directions for wearing your brace or splint throughout the day, especially at night, until you're directed to stop weaning from it. In the case of severe conditions, you will need to wear it for 4 to six weeks.
Elevate your hands while applying Ice to increase your performance with cold therapy. You should elevate the hands above the heart to help with swelling management, reducing the pain and speeding up healing. Keep track of your hand's location throughout the day, particularly while relaxing. Maintain your hand propped up to keep it in the upper part of your chest, even when lying down.
Alongside elevation as well as ice therapy, the application of compression using bandages, tape, or a compressive glove can help to provide relief of pain and decrease swelling. Utilizing them with rest is the most effective way to manage acute symptoms or flare-ups as you heal.
If you have suffered a severe injury or ailment, particularly in cases where surgery is required, the doctor could prescribe relief from pain. If this is the case, you should follow the instructions of your physician to take the medication. If not, prescription anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), including naproxen or ibuprofen, are the best option to get the relief you seek. If you're uncertain which medications are safe to take, consult your physician first. At first, using your NSAIDS according to a plan to manage symptoms and gradually decrease the dose is ideal. You can then apply them as required for any particular aggravating activity.
It's crucial to remember that these medications shouldn't be used in the long-term use schedule because of the potential for adverse effects when they are used for a long time like organ damage.
After you've allowed enough healing time and received approval from your physician, it's time to begin exercising. Of course, the time you can start is contingent on the degree of the injury. Engaging a reliable medical professional will provide the most effective results, like an occupational therapist or physical therapist.
Physical therapists are also available who are specifically trained in hand treatments to work with as well. They'll assist you in establishing an individual program that will get you back to your routine as quickly as possible.
What you can anticipate from a progression of exercises for your thumb is:
- A gentle, passive thumb, wrist, and hand flexibility and range of motion (with assistance from your PT or by using the opposite hand)
- A gentle, active thumb, hand, wrist, and hand flexibility and range of motion
- Exercises for strengthening targeted the affected muscles (including muscles that are weak because of wearing braces)
- Functional strengthening that is focused on hand, thumb, and arm coordination
- Sports (or everyday exercise) specific exercises that help prepare your thumb in preparation for secure return, with less risk or injury re-injury
Here is a sequence of exercises you'll probably encounter when you work with hand therapy and the tools you'll require to maximize each one of them:
- Flexion and extension ranges of motion for each thumb joint
- Abduction and adduction ranges of motion for the metacarpophalangeal joints (MCP- middle joint of the thumb)
- Hand and wrist stretch for general use include extensions, flexion, radial deviation, ulnar deviation and supination, and pronation.
- Isometric thumb exercises include gripping, pinching, flexion and extension, abduction, and adduction. Using the therapy glue or hand exercise ball, hands exercise ball, and hand extension exercises to press against
- active thumb motion to achieve all of the range in a short period.
- Resisted thumb motion by using bands and therapy putty
- Strengthening exercises for the wrist (and other arm exercises pertinent) include wrist extension, flexion, or radial deviation and the ability to pronate or supinate using a small dumbbell.
- Exercises specific to the activity and biomechanical training for all sports include throwing a ball and hitting an object, cooking, writing, typing, and more.
When to Consider Surgery
Any surgical procedure should only be considered for severe thumb injuries, typically from sports injuries. Your physician will likely require additional imaging to determine which procedure is appropriate, for example, imaging with an x-ray or MRI. If your thumb is dislocated, issues characterized by severe instability and the torn ligament (severe sprain), tendon (strain), or complex fracture could warrant surgery.
An orthopedic surgeon will most likely perform the "open reduction for dislocated thumb surgery." Surgery will need more time to recover and will increase the possibility of complications, such as scar tissue adhesions and a reduction in the thumb's range of motion. Discuss your concerns regarding surgery with your physician before and after the procedure is completed.
Preventing a Dislocated Thumb,
There are a few things you can do to prevent a dislocated thumb, such as:
- Wear protective gear when participating in sports or activities that put your thumbs at risk. This includes wearing gloves when playing baseball, basketball, or volleyball and wrist guards when rollerblading or skateboarding.
- Be careful when using tools or equipment that could hit your thumbs. When using a hammer, hold the nail securely with a nail holder. When using a saw, keep your fingers away from the blade.
- Avoid overuse. If you experience pain in your thumbs, stop the activity and rest. Continuing the activity could increase your risk of dislocating your thumb.
Here are some additional tips for preventing a dislocated thumb:
- Warm up before participating in sports or activities that put your thumbs at risk. This will help to prepare your muscles and ligaments for activity.
- Stretch your thumbs regularly. This will help to improve flexibility and reduce your risk of injury.
- Avoid falls. Be careful when walking on slippery surfaces and getting in and out of bathtubs and showers.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts additional stress on your joints, including your thumb joints.
If you have any medical conditions that weaken your ligaments or tendons, such as arthritis or diabetes, it is especially important to take precautions to prevent a dislocated thumb.
If you experience any pain or swelling in your thumb, it is important to see a doctor immediately to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent further complications.
Rehabbing Your Dislocated Thumb
Bringing your finger or other dislocation of the fingers back to normal health starts by establishing a solid strategy for controlling your symptoms and encouraging proper healing. The suggestions above are a good start for hand injuries. If your symptoms improve and you can do the appropriate exercises, it can ensure you regain your hand and thumb function in the shortest time possible, with less risk of complications.
Remember to be patient and allow your thumb all the attention it requires. If you don't notice your symptoms starting to improve in the next few weeks or are becoming worse, speak with your doctor for more medical guidance.