These injuries can be small but very painful when injured.
Sprained thumbs are fairly common with a range of specific sports such as a fall from skiing. The reason for this is because during a fall the ski pole is between thumb and fingers. Any sport where the hand is stretched out on a fall can create damage to most commonly, the inner ligament of the middle thumb joint. Like any soft tissue injury, the RICE procedure should be followed immediately after injury and for 24 to 48 hours post-injury. This consists of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Thumbs or injuries of the hand can be slow healing due to the complexity of the structures and because rest of this area can be difficult. These injuries may take up to 6 –12 months to heal properly. However, thumbs and fingers respond well to strapping or bracing which can allow for the continuation of activity and sport, while the soft tissue heals. Strapping or bracing supplies an external ligament support while the real ligament heals. Stretches and mobilization of the joint may also be appropriate due to the long period of healing which can create joint stiffness. Ultrasound may also be of benefit with these types of injuries as it speeds recovery by decreasing inflammation and increasing blood supply to that area.
Although the healing process is slow for these intricate joints if the injury doesn’t seem to be slowly improving get some medical advice from your local physiotherapist, specialised hand therapist or GP. It may be more than just a sprained ligament. Our clinics both have hand therapists on site who can assess and treat these tricky but painful injuries.