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How are thumb injuries treated?

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Quick Answer

Treatments for thumb injuries include immobilizing the thumb with a splint, ice packs, strengthening exercises and surgical intervention, as described by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Those who have arthritis at the base of the thumb may also benefit from certain medications, splints and surgical reconstruction, according to the University of Connecticut.

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Full Answer

If a thumb injury results in a partially torn ligament, the patient may require a splint or bandage to immobilize it, as the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons explains. Additionally, the patient should apply an ice pack during the first two to three days of the treatment period to reduce swelling. The patient should wear the splint continuously for the first two to three weeks. After this period, patients may engage in strengthening exercises under a physician's care.

For severe thumb injuries, patients may need surgery, as the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons claims. Surgery is necessary when the ligament disconnects from the bone, and the aim of the surgery is to reattach it. Following surgery, the patient must wear a short arm cast for six to eight weeks to stabilize the thumb.

Those who experience arthritis at the base of the thumb following sports injuries may take medication to reduce the pain, according to the University of Connecticut. This includes oral and topical medications as well as corticosteroid injections. Additionally, splints and immobilization are effective treatment methods. When patients don't respond to non-surgical measures, their physicians may choose to use surgery. Such surgeries aim to remove the arthritic bone or reconstruct the joint to reduce pain.

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