All About Thumb Sprains
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1) What is a Thumb Sprain?
Sprained thumb is a body injury which occurs when the ligaments of the thumb are damaged. The thumb could shift backwards or move from the ligament. The ligament is the tissue which joins the bones of the human joints. Thumb sprains usually occur at the bottom (or base) of the thumb.
This injury is common to people who engage in different types of sporting activities such as skiing, rugby and ball sports like netball and basketball. The problem could also occur as a result of falling down. A sprain could be minor or severe. It is minor when it affects only a small part of the ligament, such as a stretch or over extension. Severe sprains result in complete tearing of the ligaments. Any sprain could be debilitating if it is not treated promptly. This is usually the case when the body sprain becomes or when several parts of the ligament are affected.
2) Signs and Symptoms of a Sprained Thumb
How would one know that he or she is suffering this form of sprain? Here are some symptoms of having a sprained thumb.
- sharp pain when the thumb moves forward or when it bent backwards
- pains in the web of the person’s thumb
- swelling in the base (or bottom) of the thumb
- loss of stability or increase stiffness at the thumb joint.
There are other different signs and symptoms which help to tell a patient that he or she is suffering from this type of sprains, but these are better left to medical professionals. If you are at all unsure, see a doctor immediately.
Thumb Sprain Treatment
When one has a sprained thumb, there are certain things which one could do to remedy the situation, especially when the problem is a minor sprain. The patient should follow the concept of RICE, which is the acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The first thing the patient should do is to take resting.
Rest – The resting could be done by having some supports to the thumb. This helps to stop the injury from being aggravated further.
Ice – Secondly, the patient should apply ice. The aim of applying the ice is to cut down on the pain of the injury. However, ice should not be administered to the skin as this could cause further problems. Applying the ice to the skin could burn the skin. The use of ice helps to stop the swelling of the thumb.
Compression – The third step is compression. This is the process of treating the injury with a bandage, tying it tightly but not too tightly.
Elevation – Finally, elevate the thumb. The injured thumb is raised above the heart to stop or reduce the swelling, which will be the case when the injured body part is not raised above the heart. This elevation could be done with pillows while lying down or holding the hand above the head.
The RICE formula is not the cure for a sprain, however. It only helps reduce the eventual pain and swelling when the injury is a minor injury.
It may also be necessary for the injured person to buy over the counter drugs, especially pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. Furthermore, a patient ought to apply balms and liniments to the affected part of the body. This is useful because it gives the warming or cooling sensations which the patient requires.
There are other first aid treatments that are available, but these should be enough to help with any minor twists and sprains of the thumb. More significant treatment should only be used under the guidance of a medical professional.
3) Taking Care of a Thumb Sprain
The best way to take care of sprained thumb is to control the swelling as well as the pain. Then, the injury would heal with time. To facilitate this, the patient must use anti inflammatory drugs and ice packs. Furthermore, it is good to keep the thumb away from further injury by making use of splints and wraps. Light exercise will help when the sprain is a minor injury. Even major sprain injuries need certain mobilization exercises.
However, if the thumb sprain is a serious injury, advanced medical attention should be considered. Surgical operations may be necessary in extreme cases. Depending on the level of the damage there could be a need for a cast of the sprained part of the body.
The best way to manage the discomfort of a sprained thumb is to use medications. It is necessary to consult a physician for drug prescriptions. The type of drug for the treatment of the sprained part of the body depends on the level of damage and it is only the physician that can decide. Medications and surgery are only necessary in the most extreme cases, however. Anybody that follows the RICE care method will likely get heal in short order.
Preventing a Sprained Thumb
Prevention is better than a cure. It is better to prevent the spraining of any part of the body. Once it occurs, no matter how minor the injury may be, it causes much discomfort for the person. A sprain in any part of the body, especially the thumb could occur, once it twists above the limit. This causes the ligaments to stretch or tear.
One of the ways to avoid spraining of body part is strength training. The best way to do this is by doing routine exercises. This is the way to help the thumb to withstand greater pressures. Before engaging in an exercise, however, one should stretch the thumbs as a way of loosening the ligaments. Be careful, though. It is not good to over-stretch the thumb.
Moreover, one has to mindful of the type of thing he or she does with thumbs. Whenever one feels strained or sprained, it is advisable to slow down whatever one is doing. This could be a body sign that the joint is being pushed too far.