This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own. When Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler's season came to an end last year after breaking his thumb bad enough during a game that it required surgery, it vaulted painful thumb injuries into the national spotlight. But dealing with irritating thumb movements is old news for millions who struggle daily with simple tasks such as gripping a door handle or turning a car ignition key. The pain could be pinpointed to a condition known as thumb basilar joint arthritis.
A thumb sprain occurs when the thumb is bent out of its normal range of movement, usually backward. It can happen in sports like skiing, rugby, and basketball and causes pain and swelling. The ligaments supporting the joint at the bottom of the thumb get damaged, and this can be helped by taping, icing, and compression. Thumb sprain symptoms include pain at the time of injury, usually as the thumb is bent backward. There may be a pain at the base of the thumb and in the web of the thumb when it is moved. Swelling over the metacarpophalangeal joint MCP joint at the base of the thumb may be visible and the patient may have laxity and instability in this joint.
Hand and wrist injuries are common following a fall onto an outstretched hand or in individuals involved in ball and contact sports or upper limb weight bearing sports such as gymnastics. Patients suffering from hand and wrist pain are often seen in physiotherapy practice. Pain may be caused by local structures within or around the wrist or hand or occasionally, may be referred from other sources such as the neck, upper back, shoulder or elbow. One common clinical presentation is the patient suffering from sudden onset wrist pain typically as a result of a fall onto an outstretched hand, the cause of which is often torn ligaments or connective tissue around the wrist, such as a Sprained Wrist figure 1 or occasionally a fracture such as a Radius Fracture figure 1 or Scaphoid Fracture figure 2.