If you break your thumb it is considered a serious problem as it will affect your ability to grasp and hold items.
The thumb has two bones. The first bone (distal phalange) extends from the tip of the thumb to the knuckle. The second bone (proximal phalange) extends from the knuckle to the base of the thumb. This is the area of webbing between the thumb and the first finger. The thumb connects with a bone in the hand (first metacarpal).
There are specific types of thumb fractures, depending on the type of break. Bennett and Rolando fractures are breaks at the base of the thumb. They involve the joint between the thumb metacarpal and a specific wrist bone. Fractures can also occur in the long portion of the bone called the metacarpal shaft.
Thumb fractures are usually caused by direct stress, such as from a fall. People with a history of bone disease or calcium deficiency are especially at risk.
You will experience severe pain at the fracture site with swelling and will find it difficult to move the thumb. You will have extreme tenderness, a deformed look and numbness in the thumb.
If the bone fragments of the fracture have not displaced (moved) very much, or if the break is located in the middle of the bone, your surgeon may be able to use a specially designed cast to hold the bone fragments in place. The cast may need to be worn for at least 4 to 6 weeks. During that time, regular x-rays will be required to ensure that the bone has not moved out of alignment.
An operation may be required, depending on the location of the fracture and the amount of movement between the broken fragments of bone. Your surgeon may use one of several fixation techniques to realign the bone fragments. These fragments must be held in place while the bone heals. Metalwork are used that hold the bone fragments in place either inside the body (internal fixation) or outside the body (external fixation). Internal fixation techniques include the use of wire, pins, plates, and screws. External fixation techniques include the use of pins in bone that are held in place through their attachment to an external fixation device.
A cast will be worn for 2 to 6 weeks after your operation. Once the cast is removed you will see a hand physiotherapy to help restore movement. It may take up to 3 months to regain full use of the hand depending on the type of injury sustained.