When it comes to a thumb sprain, it involves damage to the ulnar collateral ligament. This ligament is responsible for connecting the thumb to the hand on either side near the index finger.
What are the causes?
A thumb sprain is quite common among those who engage in sports as well as falls in which the thumb is jammed into the ground or other hard surfaces or if the thumb is flexed into its maximum position. Depending on the cause, one or several ligaments are damaged.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The affected thumb or hand becomes swollen and might even bruise. The pain typically lasts for only a week or two.
After this period, this is followed by issues with functioning. The individual has difficulty writing, holding objects or turning a door knob. Oftentimes, this can be felt as pain or discomfort and sometimes weakness.
When an X-ray is taken, it can reveal if the bones of the thumb and hand are damaged. The doctor will assess the thumb to determine if the ligament is torn. In some cases, the tears can be managed using a splint or a cast. There are also other tears that requires surgery to be properly fixed.
For chronic injuries, the ligament could not heal even with treatment. In such instances, a new ligament is oftentimes created by using a tendon. If there is arthritis, fusion of the joint is required as the best option to keep the joint in a fixed position.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on a thumb sprain is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage sprains including one that affects the thumb by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.