A sprained thumb occurs when the thumb is bent out of it's normal range of movement. This usually is backwards, and damages the ligaments that support the joint where is meets the hand (the metacarpo-phalangeal joint).
A sprained thumb is common in skiing, and in contact and ball sports such as basketball, rugby, and the martial arts.
- Pain around the base of the thumb
- Pain when the thumb it is moved.
- Swelling around the joint at the bottom of the thumb
- Laxity and instability in the joint
If there is extreme laxity, then the tendons may have ruptured, in which case surgery may be required. In most cases, however, more conservative treatment will effect healing. Options include:
- Resting the joint
- Supportive taping
An injury such as this will typically heal in 4 to 6 weeks. You will then need to follow a program of strengthening exercises to restore stability and prevent re-injury.