If you suffer from severe pain due to hand or wrist injury, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.
What is a thumb fracture?
The thumb is the finger that is most vulnerable to fracture due to its solitary position on the hand. The thumb consists of two phalangeal bones and a metacarpal bone, any of which can be broken during an injury. The wrist bone that the thumb sits on (the trapezium) may also be injured. A common fracture involving the base of the thumb metacarpal bone and involving the joint is called the Bennett fracture. A more complex fracture of the base of the thumb metacarpal bone with further involvement of the joint is called the Rolando fracture.
What causes thumb fractures?
Thumb fracture can occur following a fall on an outstretched hand, a sports injury involving catching a ball, or an accident. Most commonly impact on a partially flexed thumb will cause the fracture.
What are the symptoms of a thumb fracture?
You can suspect thumb fracture if your thumb is painful, swollen, appears to be bent, and/or has difficulty moving following an injury.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Thumb fracture is diagnosed following a clinical examination and review of imaging. Typically X-rays with special thumb views are sufficient to diagnose the fracture. However, sometimes a CT scan is needed to further characterize the injury.
Treatment of thumb fracture depends on the location and extent of the injury, as well as whether additional structures such as ligaments are injured. Treatment may involve immobilization with a cast or a splint for several weeks. If the fracture requires surgical treatment, stabilization with surgical wires, known as Kirshner or K-wires can be performed. If further fixation is needed- an incision is made followed by surgical reduction and fixation with screws or small plates. During recovery hand therapy may be necessary to help regain strength and rang of motion in the thumb.
AAOS- American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons thumb fracture OrthoInfo webpage. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/
ASSH- American Society of Hand Surgery broken hand Handcare webpage.