What Is a Jammed Thumb?
Jammed thumb has many different names. It is also known as the skier's thumb, mallet or baseball finger. Thus, this condition stands for a tendon or bone injury affecting our thumb, causing pain and discomfort. This is usually caused by getting our thumb hit or jammed somewhere, making it red, swollen and painful afterwards.
Reasons behind a Jammed Thumb
Our thumb can only be safely bent in certain ways. Whenever we overdo this action or, directly or indirectly, cause our thumb to take abnormal positions, we are likely to cause a jammed thumb, injuring it. We might have hit something hard like a wall or the floor, suffering from a jammed finger later on. Also, this injury is common during sports like basketball, where the ball itself may hit and push the finger into an abnormal position, causing injuries. Sometimes the ligaments get torn or stretched, while there are also more severe cases, where the bone in the thumb gets broken.
How Can a Jammed Thumb Be Treated?
Before seeking treatment, you have to assess the severity of the injury. This can be done by trying to move the injured thumb. If the movement is very painful or even impossible, there is a high likelihood that the bone has been broken. If there are no such symptoms, the ligaments are probably strained, which is the brighter side of a jammed thumb. Nevertheless, you should get your finger examined by the doctor in both of these cases, before taking care of it at home.
In order to deal with the pain and the swelling, you should apply cold compress onto the injured thumb. Ice, wrapped in a piece of cotton cloth will do. Alternatively, you can use a cloth, soaked in cold water. Keep it on for about 15 minutes. Also, you might need to immobilize the thumb. You can use a splint or bandage for these purposes. Over-the-counter painkillers can be taken for pain-relief, as long as you are not allergic to any of the ingredients these drugs consist of.
Upon visiting the doctor, he/she will have your thumb examined and scanned for injuries. If these are severe, as it is the case with a broken bone or torn ligament, you might need to undergo thumb surgery.
Luckily, in less severe situations, the thumb usually heals on its own, provided that you take good care of it. The recovery period may last from several weeks to several months. Afterwards, you will probably need to do certain exercises in order to rehabilitate the finger.