Sprained Thumb: What You Need to Know

Sprained Thumb: What You Need to Know

The first thing that needs to be known is that it’s not just your thumb. A broken bone in any part of the body can cause pain and even numbness. The reason why most people don’t realize they have a broken bone until after the fact is because there are no visible signs of breakage (see image). The only way to tell if you’ve got a broken bone is to go see a doctor right away.

If you don’t get medical attention soon, the damage could become permanent.

What Causes Sprained Thumb?

It’s possible that your thumb was injured while playing with something like a ball or other object and then fell on hard surfaces causing the bones around it to crack. Or maybe it happened when you were climbing over a low wall or fence. Whatever the case may be, there are several things that can lead to a fractured thumb.

A Broken Bone Can Cause Pain & Numbness

If you’re ever going to feel anything from a broken bone, it will probably be pain and/or numbness. This is because your body is trying its hardest to block the pain so it can focus on healing the injury.

While there are several ways to tell if your thumb is broken, here are a few of the telltale signs:

You can see a bump on the top of your thumb.

You can see a bump on the bottom of your thumb.

There’s an unnatural angle in your thumb.

Your thumb is misshaped or deformed.

There’s severe throbbing in your thumb.

Touching around the area makes you cringe in pain.

There’s bruising around the bone(s).

You can’t move your thumb or part of it (i.e. bending it).

You feel numbness in or around the joint.

You’ve been suffering from any of these symptoms for more than a couple of days, make sure you go to the doctor immediately.

When to See a Doctor for a Broken Thumb

While most people know to seek medical attention immediately after a bone breaks, it can also be beneficial to have it looked at even if you’re not feeling any pain. When the bones in your body break, tiny hairline fractures often occur as well that, while they aren’t causing you any pain now, could lead to a more serious injury later on. That’s why it’s always best to get yourself checked out right away.

Treating a Broken Thumb

Thumbs are pretty important when it comes to performing everyday tasks, which is why you need to get your thumb treated as soon as possible. Most times, your doctor will be able to fix it in just a few short weeks. If the break is extra serious or requires an urgent surgery, then you could wind up needing to wear a cast or a splint to keep it stable while it heals.

How Long to Wear a Thumb Splint After Breaking It

Everything really depends on the type of break you have and how bad it is. As a general rule of thumb, though, you should wear your splint for about three months. If you took a serious tumble and feel that you need more time to recover, talk to your doctor about getting an extension.

How Long Does It Take to Heal a Broken Thumb?

It takes about three to six weeks for an uncomplicated break to heal. If your bone snapped in more than one place or if you have other complications, you could wind up needing as many as six months before you’re fully healed. It’s also important to remember that broken bones never fully heal; they just get stronger over time so that you’re less likely to re-break them in the future.

Staying Active with a Cast or Splint

Most people are eager to get their broken bones out of their casts and splints as soon as they can, but that isn’t always the best idea. If you’re experiencing pain in the area, then removing it could cause further damage. Your body needs time to heal, so try to be patient and give it exactly that. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

How to Tell If Your Cast Is Healed

The best way to tell if your cast is healed is to have your doctor examine it. If you’re wearing a splint and not a full on cast, you can usually examine it yourself first before you see him. Look for:

Movement in the area.


Discoloration or bruising around the joint.

Sharp pains when you move it or touch it.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, do not remove the cast or splint yourself. Have your doctor look at it to make sure you aren’t at risk for complications.

Sources & references used in this article:

The model thinker: What you need to know to make data work for you by SE Page – 2018 – books.google.com

Do We Really Need to Know? by A Jutel, L McBain – JAMA, 2012 – jamanetwork.com

Ankle joint proprioception and postural control in basketball players with bilateral ankle sprains by ASN Fu, CWY Hui-Chan – The American journal of sports …, 2005 – journals.sagepub.com

Snowboarding injuries: trends over time and comparisons with alpine skiing injuries by S Kim, NK Endres, RJ Johnson… – … American journal of …, 2012 – journals.sagepub.com

sprained everyday. by FA ANKLE-CARE, PTOC ANKLE-CARE – europepmc.org