Broken thumb

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The broken thumb usually involves damage to the first metacarpal. This bone starts at the webbing amidst the thumb and index finger. Most fractures occur at the base of first metacarpal. If an individual is suspected with a broken thumb, it is vital to seek medical care.

What are the signs?

The indications of a broken thumb include the following

  • Intense thumb pain
  • Swelling or inflammation around the base of the thumb
  • Severe tenderness of the site
  • Diminished ability to move the thumb
    Broken thumb
    If an individual is suspected with a broken thumb, apply an ice pack or cold compress to lessen the swelling.
  • Deformed appearance of the thumb
  • Numbness or cold feeling

Most of these symptoms might also arise with a severe ligament tear or sprain. A doctor must be consulted to determine the root cause of the injury.

Management of a broken thumb

First aid care

If an individual is suspected with a broken thumb, apply an ice pack or cold compress to lessen the swelling. Immobilization of the hand using a splint can greatly help as well.

The affected wrist must be elevated above the heart. This aims to lessen the bleeding and swelling if any are present.

Conservative treatment

If the fractured bone fragments were not displaced too far or if the damage is in the center of the bone shaft, the doctor might restore the bone without surgery. The procedure can be painful which is why sedation or anesthesia is given.

A spica cast is worn for up to 6 weeks. The cast secures the thumb in place as the bone recuperates. The cast immobilizes the thumb by wrapping around the forearm and thumb.

Surgical intervention

If there is significant displacement of the fractured bone or the CMC joint is involved, surgery is necessary to reset the bone. Wires or screws are inserted via the skin to secure the fractured segments in the right position as the bone heals.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a broken thumb is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs and how it is managed by taking a standard first aid course with Victoria First Aid.

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