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Thumb Fracture

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A thumb fracture is a crack or break in one or more of the bones in your thumb. A direct blow, such as a fall, can cause a thumb fracture. It can also happen when your thumb is twisted, pulled back, or bent with force.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Ice:

Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your thumb, splint, or cast for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.

Elevate:

Raise your thumb above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your hand on pillows or blankets to keep your thumb elevated comfortably.

Skin care:

Check your skin around the cast or splint daily for red or sore areas.

Cast or splint care:

  • Keep it dry. Cover as directed when you need to shower.
  • Do not stick objects inside to scratch an itch.
  • Do not pull the padding out.
  • Keep dirt, sand, and powder out.

Hand therapy:

You may need to see a hand therapist once your cast or splint is removed. A hand therapist can help you with exercises to strengthen your hand and help restore movement.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or hand specialist as directed:

You may need x-rays of your thumb to check the position as it heals. Your cast may need to be removed after 2 to 3 weeks to check any wounds. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your primary healthcare provider or hand specialist if:

  • The skin around your cast becomes red and sore.
  • The skin under your cast or splint itches, and the itch does not go away.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your cast cracks or breaks.
  • You are not able to move your fingers.
  • You have severe pain in your thumb or hand.
  • You have new or increased swelling in your thumb or hand.
  • Your cast feels too tight.
  • Your injured thumb is numb.
  • Your skin under the cast or splint burns or stings.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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