How to Splint a Thumb

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Thumb splints decrease the amount of movement in the injured area, while providing support and comfort by stabilizing the affected thumb. Splints can be used for a sprain or even a broken bone and can easily be done by yourself or by a friend.

Things You'll Need

  • Splint
  • Soap
  • Tape, cloth or shoestring

Remove any rings or jewelry on the wrist or fingers. If it is difficult to remove because of swelling, try to use soap as a lubricant or consider a ring cutter to remove it. Rings may cause swelling and tissue damage, so avoid leaving on any jewelry.

Decide which type of splint is best for your injury. A curved splint is normally used for dislocations and fractures of the bone in the thumb or other finger, while straight splits are normally used for an injured thumb.

Wash your hand and thumb with a mild soap and dry thoroughly.

Sit down so that you are comfortable and put your hand so that your thumb is pointing toward the ceiling.

Put the splint on carefully over your finger and avoid bending or straightening the thumb. If you apply too much pressure or force, you could cause additional injury.

Wrap three layers of tape around the tip of your thumb and the base of the finger where the lower joint of the thumb is.

Leave the splint on until your injury heals and replace the tape daily to ensure that it holds.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rest the injured thumb, make sure that it is elevated and ice the area.
  • If you are unsure about which type of thumb splint to use, speak with your physician.
  • If you don't have a finger splint available, place two tongue depressors (commonly found in first aid kits) or popsicle sticks around the thumb and secure them with tape, a shoestring or a strip of cloth.
  • If you have weakness, numbness or a change in color, increased pressure or pain, or redness in the thumb or hand, see a health-care professional as soon as possible.
  • Don't wrap the tape too tightly because it is important to maintain good circulation in your hand and thumb. "Buddy taping" or taping the thumb to the index finger normally does not work well because of the size difference and positioning.
  • Don't stick any items like a hanger or pen to scratch beneath the splint or cast. This can lead to a break in the skin, causing sores or an infection.

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