Dislocated Thumb: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

You have dislocated your thumb, meaning that your thumb came out of its normal position. Your doctor probably put the thumb back in its normal position. You will need to wear a splint while your thumb heals.

The tissues in the thumb may be damaged, sore, and swollen. You may need surgery if the damage is severe.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Wear the splint day and night until your follow-up visit. Do not take it off unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your thumb for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Prop up your hand on a pillow when you ice it or anytime you sit or lie down. Try to keep it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse pain.
  • Your thumb is cool or pale or changes colour.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in your thumb.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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