Sep 18, 2014

Finger & Thumb Treatments

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Thumb Injury Treatment

The thumb is a much more complex (not to mention handy) part of the body than its size might imply. Thus, there are a number of thumb injuries or thumb problems that can disrupt its function. Thankfully, there is an even more diverse array of thumb orthotics available at low prices at BraceAbility for thumb pain treatment and healing.

Repetitive Strain Thumb Injury Treatment

When thinking about an injury, a break or jammed thumb due to a direct impact might be the first things to come to mind. But there are also a number of repetitive strain injuries that can be quite painful and disruptive of daily activities.

For instance, one of the top-selling items at BraceAbility is the Active Innovations Splint for Trigger Thumb. The common conditions trigger thumb or trigger finger cause an annoying to painful and debilitating sticking of the thumb in the bent position. This minimally invasive trigger thumb brace reduces pressure on the thumb that is prone to getting stuck in a locked position. Wearing a trigger thumb splint allows the inflammation of the tendon sheath that causes trigger thumb symptoms to go down so that the region can heal.

Unfortunately, conservative methods are not always effective for treating trigger thumb. In such cases, trigger thumb surgery may be necessary.  

Repetitive Strain Thumb Injury

De Quervain’s Syndrome Thumb Tendonitis Treatment

Another thumb condition characterized by problems with the thumb tendons that is thought to be linked with chronic overuse or repetitive motions of either the wrist or hand is de Quervain’s syndrome. This form of tendonitis is also known as mother’s or mommy’s thumb because it often affects new parents, especially women, who lift their child frequently throughout the day. This causes pain and swelling around the base of the thumb that can radiate into the forearm or thumb. This can make it tough to grip anything using the thumb.

Thumb tendonitis treatment involves following the steps of RICE and taking anti-inflammatory medications. Of course, the rest component is pretty tough to do with a baby in the house, so mother’s thumb treatment also involves wearing a de Quervain’s splint throughout the day and night for four to six weeks.

The Bort StellaFix De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Brace for Thumb Joint is a good brace for immobilizing the thumb and providing support to the base of the thumb. Or for a bit more support for both the hand and the wrist, the Corflex Abducted Thumb/Wrist Splint is worth a try.

In some cases, a steroid injection may also be pursued for de Quervain swollen thumb treatment. If that fails, surgery may be needed. 

DeQuervain's Thumb Tendonitis Disorder

Thumb Nerve Injury Treatment

Carpal tunnel is another thumb condition that can stem from repetitive wrist flexing that pressures the median nerve as it transverses the carpal tunnel. This pressure can cause symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in thumb that worsens at night.

For very mild cases, rest and ice are sometimes enough to get rid of the symptoms. But in many cases, carpal tunnel treatment will involve splinting the thumb and wrist just at night or around the clock to give the inflammation time to recede and the thumb and wrist a chance to heal. The Bort Carpal Tunnel Hand Brace or the Bauerfeind RhizoLoc Thumb Stabilizer can both be helpful toward that end. 

Bowlers’ thumb is another condition that affects the nerves of the wrist and thumb. Putting “spin” on a bowling ball can pressure the inner part of the thumb, thereby compressing the ulnar digital nerve. This causes much the same symptoms as carpal tunnel except that the pain is located at the inner part of the thumb and in the webbing area between the thumb and index finger.

Bowler’s thumb treatment is also similar from that of carpal tunnel in that it involves taking a break from bowling, icing the hand and possibly wearing a splint like the Universal Wrist Immobilizer from BraceAbility. When one does return to bowling, steps one can take to ward off a recurrence include altering one’s technique, wearing a protective splint or widening the hole of the bowling ball.

Blackberry Thumb Treatment

A catch-all condition caused by repetitive stress of frequent cell phone, Nintendo, Wii or iPad use is Blackberry thumb. This incidence of this injury, which refers to a broad range of wrist and thumb injuries ranging from tendinitis to arthritis to trigger thumb, has been on the rise in recent years, coinciding with the rise in the use of such devices with the general population, especially among the older generations.

Blackberry thumb treatment involves taking a break from texting and the like as much as possible. If that doesn’t help, one may need to wear a thumb stabilizing splint and engage in stretching exercises for relief. The Active Innovations Gamekeeper’s Thumb Splint is a cool, comfortable splint that restricts the thumb’s motion without hindering that of the fingers. Anti-inflammatory medications and ice can also help reduce the painful inflammation associated with Blackberry thumb.

Jammed Thumb Treatment

Of course there are also a number of injuries to the thumb that are caused by impact. A jammed thumb, for instance, occurs when impact causes the thumb to move in a way it should not, causing swelling and immediate pain to the thumb joint. Usually this occurs via the impact of a ball or another player to the thumb. It is also worth noting that similar to “Blackberry thumb,” the term “jammed thumb” is not precise; it can refer to a number of injuries such as a tendon injury or ligament sprain or even fractured or dislocated bones in the joint vicinity.

Thumb joint pain treatment will depend upon the severity of the injury. For mild to moderate cases where no fractures are involved, this typically includes applying ice and elevating the thumb as soon as possible after the injury. Taping or splinting the injured thumb can also be helpful in reducing the inflammation and pain.

The Bort StellaTex Wrist and Thumb Spica is a good choice for swollen thumb joint treatment as it is designed to treat a wide variety of thumb injuries to both the joints and ligaments. It is also important to engage in finger movements as soon as the swelling and pain subside to ward off stiffness.

Hammer or mallet thumb typically refers to a jam injury to the extensor tendon, which is located at the top joint of the thumb. Rupture to this tendon can result in the tip of the thumb being stuck in a downward flex. Again, this often occurs when an outstretched thumb is hit by a ball, hyperflexing it. Bracing the thumb and or/surgery may be needed for hammer thumb treatment.

Strained and Sprained Thumb Treatment

Another relatively common injury is a sprained thumb. This might occur when falling onto an extended hand or when the thumb is jammed by a ball, for example; there are a number of ways the thumb can be forcefully bent into an extreme position.

Following the injury, the thumb will likely swell and bruise in addition to causing pain with movement. Instability and a weakness of grip may also be symptoms of a thumb sprain. 

There are several ligaments in the thumb that can be sprained, with the most commonly injured being the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). A tear or damage to the UCL also goes by the names “skiers’ thumb” and “gamekeepers’ thumb” as it is a relatively common injury in these sports. One can also tear the radial collateral ligament, though this is much rarer. 

Collateral Ligament Thumb Sprain

 

Thumb sprain treatment depends upon the extent of damage. In instances of a partial tear, skiers’ thumb treatment or radial collateral ligament sprain treatment will likely involve wearing a cast or splint for several weeks to give the body a chance to repair the damaged ligament. Gamekeeper's Thumb Splint Spica or the Bort Skier's Thumb Brace are designed with UCL injury treatment in mind.

Following the steps of RICE and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can also be helpful toward torn thumb ligament treatment.  

But in instances when the ligament is completely torn or the sprain coincides with a fracture, surgery will likely be needed as treatment for sprained thumb injuries. In some instances, as is often the case in gamekeeper’s thumb where the thumb has been subjected to many instances of hyperextension over time, the ligament may be stretched out and in tough shape, also necessitating surgery

Following surgery, a post-operative thumb splint or cast will be needed to support the thumb for a period, along with physical therapy to regain the thumb’s full range of motion.

While the term “strain” is often used interchangeably with the word “sprain,” the two are actually different injuries. A strain refers to damage to the muscle/tendon structure. This might occur over time when playing a sport such as tennis or golf or suddenly after tossing a baseball, for instance. Thumb strain treatment is largely the same as treatment for a sprained thumb, involving splinting, RICE, and surgery in the case of a ruptured muscle.

Dislocated Thumb Treatment

A dislocated thumb is another injury involving the joints of the thumb in which the bones shift out of their normal position, causing sharp and/or sudden pain, swelling, an inability to move the thumb and deformity of the digit. This might occur during a contact sport or via a forceful blow to the joint as one might experience in a car crash (this is the most common cause of a dislocated thumb). 

Dislocated Thumb Treatment

Contrary to some conceptions, thumb dislocation treatment does not involve forcing the joint back into place, as this can cause more damage to the structures of the thumb. Rather, one should immobilize the thumb, apply ice and head to a medical professional’s office.

A doctor may try to “reduce” the dislocated thumb, or maneuver the bones to try and get them back into their normal positions. Once this is done, the next stage of treatment for dislocated thumb injuries is to immobilize the thumb with a splint, such as the BraceAbility Thumb Spica Brace or for kids the Bort SellaTex® Pediatric Wrist Splint for several weeks.  After that period of healing, rehabilitation exercises will be needed to improve the thumb joint’s range of motion.

If soft tissues surrounding the joint have also been damaged, surgery may be needed to remedy a dislocated thumb

Broken Thumb Treatment

A fracture can occur anywhere on the thumb, but breaks to the joint region, especially in the wrist vicinity, are the most problematic type in terms of thumb fracture treatment. Symptoms of a break to the thumb include pain, immobility, cold or numbness, deformity and swelling.

If the break to the thumb bone occurs in the middle part of the shaft with little bone displacement, treatment for broken thumb may simply entail wearing a spica cast for a number of weeks, like the Corflex Thumb Fracture Splint.

But if that is not the case, surgery may be needed to realign the bones of the thumb for fractured thumb treatment. The next step of treatment for a broken thumb will be wearing a cast or post-operative splint for anywhere from two to six weeks, followed by physical therapy. This step of treatment for fractured thumb injuries is necessary for restoring strength and flexibility to the thumb so that it can get back to its pre-injury ability.

Thumb Arthritis Treatment

Unfortunately, most of these thumb injuries increase one’s risk of arthritis in the joints of the thumb down the road. Not to mention, simply the wear and tear the thumb sustains over the course of a lifetime can lead to arthritis. Thankfully, there are a number of arthritis thumb treatment options that can lessen the discomfort and inconvenience of the condition.

There are a number of medications one can take to reduce pain and/or inflammation. Check out a list of commonly used medications. Physical therapy can be helpful toward improving joint function that is compromised by arthritis, as can wearing a splint or brace.

Consider, for instance, the Bort SellaDur Thumb Arthritis Treatment that supports the thumb and limits irritating motion. The brace itself is far from irritating; it features perforated holes for breathability as well a raised edge at the thumb forefinger to avoid unnecessary pressure.

The application of heat and cold pads to the joints can also be a helpful treatment for thumb arthritis. One should also avoid hand clenching as much as possible (especially when carrying things) and purchase tools to lessen the strain on the hand when opening jars, gardening or turning keys, for example.

In severe cases when splinting and medications are ineffective, injections or surgery may be viable arthritis in thumb treatment options.

There are some alternative arthritis in thumb joint treatment options, such as acupuncture, glucosamine or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), but their effectiveness in terms of treatment for arthritis in thumb joint varies from patient to patient. 

 
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