Peter G. Fitzgibbons, MD
Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon
A break or a crack in the bones of the thumb is known as a thumb fracture. Thumb fractures can occur from a direct blow, a fall, and muscle contractions or twisting during sports such as football, hockey, skiing and wrestling. Fractures may occur anywhere on the thumb, but a fracture at the base of the thumb, near the wrist, is considered the most serious. A fractured thumb is associated with severe pain, tenderness and swelling at the fracture site, little or no thumb movement, deformed appearance or coldness or numbness in the thumb.
A diagnosis of a fracture in the thumb is done by reviewing your medical history and performing a detailed examination of your thumb. X-rays are usually ordered to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment involves the use of splints or casts to immobilize the bones until they heal. Surgery is usually considered if nonsurgical treatment fails to provide relief. External fixation is a surgery that fixes pins above and below the fracture site to treat the fracture from the outside. These pins are held in place by an external fixation device. Internal fixation involves the implantation of wires, pins, screws and plates from the inside to maintain the bones in proper position while they heal.