Dislocated thumb, I think.

Yeah, I don’t even know if that’s what it’s called.
Still I think I have a dislocated bone in my thumb. I noticed it 2 nights ago. When I try to bend it down, it’s clearly wonky, and it hurts. And the bump seems clearly a bone, not a callous or mass.

Of course, I could be wrong, but that’s what I’m leaning towards. My question is what’s going to happen to me? And who’s going to do what to it?

I’m pretty sure it’s not an emergency, more in the, ‘if it hurts when you do that, don’t do that’, category. Thing is I’m scheduled for a week in the bush, starting next Monday. I’ll be far from any aid. With people, but still. I’m uncertain what might happen if I put off doing anything until I get back. I wonder what the downsides might be.

I may drop round my Doc’s office tomorrow, and see if she’ll look at it. But I’m equally confused about what will be done, to be honest. Will she fix it? Just snap it back into place? (Ouch!) Or will she send me to urgent care? Will they put a splint on it? Will I be able to canoe?

So many questions, I know! But to be honest, I didn’t even know you could do such a thing, and I have not the faintest idea how I did it. I’ve also never broken or dislocated anything in my life, so I am woefully ignorant on all such matters.

Thanks for any info you feel like sharing. I’m looking for more general info, than actual medical advice, so please feel free to let fly with any and all diagnoses, if you feel the urge! I promise I will be seeing an actual Doctor in the near future.

IANAD. My experience in joint problems like this is anti-inflammatory are your friend. It could be a minor injury, or something more, but you’ll probably end up taking ibuprofen or something stronger. Might as well start now.

Good luck with it!


No can do, BP meds conflict. I thought of that too. Now I take extra strength Tylenol for pain, but it’s not that kind of pain. At least not yet! Thanks for the well wishes though, much appreciated!

Tylenol will be ok for the pain, but that might just mask your problems. I suspect you’ll want to immobilize the thumb for a bit, or at least minimize use. The pain and stiffness can help remind you, but not if you take any real pain killers.

Are there other classes of anti-inflammatories that you can take? What about a topical medication? I’ve used topical voltaren gel before - it’s amazing stuff. A quick web search seems to indicate there is still a risk of interaction, but it’s enough of a different mechanism that it’s worth asking your doctor for your specific situation.

Re-reading your OP - when I’ve seen an orthopedic for similar injuries, he manipulates the joint a bit, takes x-rays if appropriate, and tells me to give it two to three weeks to see if it gets better on its own. Some joints take forever - wrists, for instance, are insanely complex and take a long time to heal.

The big thing I’d ask the doc is if you’re likely to injure it more by using it. Find out if she thinks you’re just dealing with pain, or if you’ll make it worse. That should give you guidance on how careful you need to be next week.

Medical advice is best suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

And the Doctor says:

Appearances notwithstanding, it’s not a dislocated bone at all. Much more likely a ganglial event, caused by sewing scissors most likely. A good chance it will go away on it’s own, with time.

I can go to the woods, I simply have to take care and not do anything that hurts. I can canoe, if perhaps clumsily. If it hasn’t gone away after some time, as it’s my thumb, (tres important for grasping etc!), she may try physio therapy, and if that fails, eventually, a plastic surgeon.

Only time will tell whether it’s just injured and will recover, or actually damaged.

Got in to see the doc, (no appt), within mins, though they only have afternoon office hours today, and only a block from my house - my doctor rocks!

Yeah. I was going to say that I once dislocated my thumb and there was NO doubt in my mind whether it was dislocated or not. Hugely painful and the bone was obviously out of place.

Good luck with your recovery. Losing even partial use of your thumb is a huge bummer.

Glad to hear it’s nothing more serious! Take it easy between now and then, and have fun on the trip.


I’ve had wrist/thumb/hand issues for years from badminton, squash, and softball. Got one now. Get the GP to look at it. If hypertension is an issue, I think you can still get a cortisone shot, which does wonders with swelling. YMMV, and IANAP.