Why does my thumb hurt?

By Julia Guthart CHT/OT

Why does my Thumb Hurt?

Thumb Pain

Thumb painful – skeleton x-ray, 3D Illustration medical concept.

One of the most common reasons for thumb pain is “Trigger Thumb” where a tendon “locks” or “clicks” as it passes through a pulley or tunnel. This painful area is located on the underside of the thumb and is sometimes worse in the morning. Sometimes you feel a ball or bump in the area. Home remedies include heat or ice for 10 minutes and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen.

Another common source of thumb pain is arthritis and affects the base of your thumb. Sometimes there is swelling or a “bump” in the area. Home remedies include a splint from a discount pharmacy to support the thumb and over the counter anti-inflammatory medication.

Texter’s Thumb is another source of pain and involves the tendons that pass over the wrist and thumb on the back side of hand/wrist. Taking a break from texting or video games is helpful as are the use of over the counter anti-inflammatory medications and splinting.

Game Keepers Thumb

A common injury that causes thumb pain is “skier’s thumb” or “game keeper’s thumb” and involves a ligament sprain of the thumb joint. This injury can be caused by a simple fall – you don’t have to have been skiing to get it. It might be painful when you try to lift a glass of water or larger jar with that hand. This needs evaluation by a physician.
Nothing makes you aware of clichés like a painful thumb…”sticks out like a sore thumb” comes to mind when everything you try to do hurts your thumb.


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All JOI Physicians, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists now offer Telemedicine services for virtual visits from the convenience of your home. If you feel that it is best to stay in your own home during this time, we can still provide orthopaedic Telehealth services for you. Through the download of the free Zoom app on the your phone, tablet or laptop. Our physicians and Telehealth for Physical Therapy can evaluate you and provide the care you need.

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.


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