Imagine writing, playing, or typing your favorite sport without a thumb. Such a possibility is possible with a dislocated thumb. However, the potential challenges and complications are worth taking seriously. We'll tell you everything you need to know about dislocated thumb injuries and explain the treatment options best for you.
What is a Dislocated Thumb?
A dislocated thumb is an injury in which one of the joints of your thumb gets pulled out of its natural position. It's important to get medical attention right away if you suspect that you have a dislocated thumb. Strained connective tissues and broken bones are among the most serious and difficult-to-treat hand injuries resulting from dislocations, so you should seek medical attention immediately if you suspect the thumb gets dislocated.
Fortunately, finger injuries are rare unless you're an athlete or were involved in a high-impact accident. However, the middle joint of the fingers (including the thumb) is one of the most commonly dislocated joints. Three different joints in the thumb can be dislocated: a Dislocated Thumb IP Joint, a Dislocated Thumb MCP Joint, and a Dislocated CMC Joint pad.
Dislocated Thumb IP Joint
The IP joint is the thumb's most distal joint. This kind of thumb injury is rare compared to an MCP joint injury (see below). It's caused by excessive pressure on the end of the thumb—a dislocated IP joint is caused by a fall.
When the thumb IP joint is dislocated, it's usually due to a ruptured tendon, an avulsion fracture, or damage to the connective tissue that stabilizes the joint. This injury requires immediate reduction and sometimes surgery to repair damaged tissues or remove bone fragments.
Dislocated Thumb MCP Joint
The metacarpophalangeal joint connects your palms to the ends of your fingers. This joint is also called the MCP or carpal-cubital joint (CCJ). The MCP joint is located in the web space between your thumb and the first or second finger. Dislocated thumb with MCP joint injuries occur when excessive strain is placed with hyperextension or a fall. It is more common than thumb IP joint injuries. Recovery and treatment require stabilization and reduction of the joint with an appropriate brace to allow connective tissue healing.
Dislocated CMC Joint
The carpometacarpal (CMC) joint is located near the wrist and acts as a palm bridge. A dislocated CMC joint occurs when it is overextended, and high impact forces are applied, resulting in injury. The injury often results from overextension when the pressure gets applied to the carpometacarpal joint. However, it is a rare injury that accounts for less than 1% of thumb injuries. Pain and Swelling may be present, and some severe cases need surgery.
Causes of Thumb Dislocations
A thumb dislocation is a common injury that can happen while playing basketball or other sports. It occurs when a player's knuckle is dislocated and hyperextended, damaging the stability of local tissues in the thumb. This makes it difficult to retain full mobility of the thumb or keep a normal position for daily activities.
Some people with rheumatoid arthritis experience a dislocated thumb because of local joint damage and instability. Thankfully, products like arthritis gloves can help ease pain and keep the hands moving more comfortably.
Dislocated Thumb Symptoms
What are the indications of a thumb dislocated, and what can you do to determine the best treatment? Here are the most common signs of a dislocated thumb that you should be aware of:
- Sharp pain in one or more thumb joints
- The thumb's range of motion is painful and restricted. of motion
- The Swelling is severe, and the bruising is extensive.
- Tenderness in the area around the injured region
- Noticeable dorsal/palmar deformity
- A feeling of numbness or discomfort when you move
- Loss of Hand, finger, or grip strength.
- Color changes
Diagnosing a Dislocated Thumb Joint
You must seek out medical help as quickly as you can, mainly when bones are not in place, to obtain an immediate reduction or elimination of the injury. Your doctor will prescribe a local anesthetic before resetting the joint if necessary.
General practitioners may need an X-ray for a dislocated thumb to determine the extent of the injury and the possibility of fractures. In addition, understanding what a dislocated thumb appears like can help determine the best treatment medications.
It is possible to order blood tests to determine if there's a possibility of infection linked to the dislocated joint. The doctor can also request imaging of the dislocated thumb, for instance, an MRI, to provide further information and examine damage to connective tissue (particularly local ligaments and the volar plate, which gives the thumb stability).
Preventing a Dislocated Thumb
Although thumb injuries cannot always be avoided, knowing the best thing to do for a broken thumb can make the healing process much more manageable. The most important thing is that the integrity of the injured joint has to be maintained as damaged tissues are healing. It is usually done through Cold therapy packs, massage, braces, splints, or tapes to manage Swelling and pain and then exercise to improve hand flexibility and strength. Keep in mind that patience and proper medical advice are essential. However, if you follow the proper and appropriate treatment, healthy hands are just around the corner despite a finger injury.