A Sprained Thumb is not fun. Your hands and wrists are essential tools that allow you to work, play and perform everyday activities. How well the hand and wrist interact depends on the integrity and function of the ligaments, tendons, muscles, joints and bones.
Problems in any of these can affect upper extremity function, causing disruptions at home and work and negatively impacting quality of life.
The human hand itself is very complex and delicate in structure. At some time in life, you may experience hand or wrist pain.
A stable thumb is very important for pinch and grasp activities. A thumb sprain is an injury to the main ligament in the thumb.
Ligaments are soft tissue structures that connect two bones to make a stable joint.
If you tear the main ligament (ulnar collateral ligament) at the base of your thumb, your pinch and grasp ability will be weak.
Cause & Symptoms
When you fall, it is natural to extend your arms to reduce the impact from hitting the ground. The way you land on your hand can stretch or tear the ulnar collateral ligament.
A spill on the ski slopes with your hand strapped to a ski pole can also injure your thumb. When this is the cause of the sprain, it is often called a “skier’s thumb.”
A sprained thumb weakens your ability to grasp items between your thumb and index finger. There may or may not be pain right away. Other symptoms include bruising, tenderness, and swelling.
See a Great Lakes Orthopedics & Joint doctor as soon as possible to ensure that the injury will not cause long-term weakness, pain, and instability.
The ulnar collateral ligament of the Sprained Thumb may be partially or completely torn. To help determine this, your doctor will move your thumb in different positions to test how stable your thumb joint is.
Your doctor may suggest x-rays to ensure that the bone is not broken.
A special type of x-ray, called a stress x-ray, shows the joint as the doctor applies tension to the injured ligament. If the test causes pain, a shot of a local anesthetic may help.
Your doctor may also take an x-ray of the uninjured thumb to compare it to the injured thumb.
Great Lakes Physical Therapy
|The Physical Therapy team at Great Lakes Orthopedics offer a wide range of programs and specialized services to help our patients restore and maintain their physical strength, performance skills, and levels of function. Our well-trained, professional staff utilize the most progressive treatment options and techniques to ensure the best possible recoveries.
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