What is thumb dislocation?

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Dislocated thumb: Overview

You have dislocated your thumb, meaning that your thumb came out of its normal position. Your doctor probably put the thumb back in its normal position. You will need to wear a splint while your thumb heals.

The tissues in the thumb may be damaged, sore, and swollen. You may need surgery if the damage is severe.

How can you care for a dislocated thumb?

  • Wear the splint day and night until your follow-up visit. Do not take it off unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your thumb for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Prop up your hand on a pillow when you ice it or anytime you sit or lie down. Try to keep it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.

Dislocated thumb: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse pain.
  • Your thumb is cool or pale or changes color.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in your thumb.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.