7 Causes of Painful Thumbs and How to Overcome Them

When your thumb hurts, the main way to deal with it is to find out first what the cause is behind it. Thus, treatment for sore thumbs can provide more optimal results. Starting from sprained fingers, inflamed joints, to broken bones, here are some explanations behind the onset of pain in the thumb.

What causes sore thumbs?

The thumb or thumb is one of the most important parts of the finger. There are so many daily activities that you may not realize involve these fingers, one of which is typing on the phone screen.

However, the thumb is not free from pain, especially if used during or after activities. What do you think could be the cause?

1. Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that affects the median nerve, which is the part of the nerve that runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand.

When the nerve is compressed at the wrist, it can cause symptoms such as pain, numbness, and difficulty moving your fingers, including your thumb.

So that CTS can be overcome, you can rest your hands, compress, and take NSAID drugs such as ibuprofen to relieve pain in your thumb. If the pain does not go away, immediately consult a doctor for more intensive treatment such as CTS surgery.

2. Basal joint arthritis

Basal joint arthritis is another cause that can cause thumb pain. BJA is a condition when the cartilage at the base of the thumb and wrist weakens.

BJA can be caused by a number of conditions, from rheumatoid arthritis to osteoarthritis. To treat this condition, treatment is needed from a doctor so that BJA does not get worse over time.

3. Sprained thumb

A sprained or sprained thumb causes the ligaments or connective tissue in the thumb to tear. This usually occurs when the thumb is forced to move backwards.

In addition to pain, a torn ligament can also cause symptoms such as bruising and swelling in the area near the thumb, especially in the palm of the hand.

To treat a sprained thumb at home, you can follow the RICE protocol recommended by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:

  • Rest: make sure you don't move your hands, especially your thumbs, for 48 hours.
  • Ice or ice cubes: apply ice as soon as possible to the injured area to relieve swelling. Use a towel to wrap the ice or cold pack for 20 minutes several times a day. Avoid sticking ice directly to the skin.
  • Compression or pressure: wear a bandage intended to suppress swelling in the thumb or hand area.
  • Elevation or lift: raise your hands higher than the position of the heart. Do this as often as possible.

Taking NSAIDs can also help relieve pain and swelling. If the pain lasts more than 48 hours, see a doctor immediately.

4. Cracked or broken bones

Pain in the thumb can also be caused by a fracture or fracture. In fact, the pain can radiate to the wrist and arm. Fractures of the thumb can cause excruciating swelling and pain.

To treat a broken bone, you have to visit the hospital. If the area of ​​the fracture is not large enough, the doctor will apply a special cast (spica cast). The cast should be worn for 4-6 weeks.

If the fracture area in the thumb bone is severe, the doctor will recommend surgery to repair the broken bone.

5. Trigger finger

Another possible cause of sore thumbs is trigger finger or trigger finger. This condition occurs due to inflammation of the tendons of the thumb. This keeps the thumb locked in a bent position.

In addition to causing pain, trigger finger also causes stiffness or a 'clicking' sound in the thumb so that it feels difficult to move.

Trigger finger can actually heal by itself. You can simply take NSAID drugs to reduce pain. However, if the pain persists and is unbearable, see a doctor immediately for corticosteroid injections or surgery.

6. de Quervain syndrome

De Quervain syndrome or de Quervain tenosynovitis is a condition that affects the tendons in the area of ​​the thumb that is close to the wrist.

This condition causes pain when the thumb is moved, wants to grip something, or twists the wrist. The pain can sometimes radiate to the arm.

The cause of this condition is not known for certain, but many women aged 30-50 years, especially those who have just given birth, suffer from this condition.

Treatment for de Quervain syndrome includes splinting, corticosteroid injections, or surgery.

7. Ganglion cyst

If the pain in the thumb is accompanied by a lump in the skin, there is a possibility it is a ganglion cyst.

A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled swelling that usually grows in the area of a joint or tendon. Cysts vary in size, from the size of a pea to a golf ball.

Ganglion cysts are not dangerous or cancerous, but they can be very painful. If there is no pain, the cyst may disappear on its own although it can take years.

However, if the pain is bothersome enough, consult a doctor immediately for treatment such as needle aspiration (suction of cyst fluid out) or surgical removal of the cyst.

Those are 7 conditions that could be the cause behind the pain in your thumb. If you are not sure what condition you are experiencing, visit your doctor immediately for an accurate diagnosis. Thus, the treatment given will be right on target.

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