FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the difference between a thumb splint and a thumb brace?
While they have some similarities, there are a couple of key differences between thumb splints and braces. Devices like this Hand-Based Thumb Splint are designed to fully immobilize the thumb. They’re useful orthopedic supplies often used to treat broken bones, for example.
A thumb brace offers support. You might use a sprained thumb brace specifically designed for sprains and strains, like this Freedom Thumb Stabilizer, to help reinforce the thumb while it heals.
What is a thumb spica splint used for?
A thumb spica splint can be used in a variety of situations. They can be used to immobilize the thumb if there is a fracture, for example. Most often, devices like the Radial-Based Thumb Spica Kay-Splint II or FREEDOM Thumb Spica are used when thumb braces are needed to treat pain and inflammation in nerves, tendons, and soft tissues. For example, they can used for sprains and strains, and they can also be helpful for patients with arthritis. These splints can help protect the thumb joint while improving hand function.
Can you use a finger splint on a thumb?
It depends on the type of treatment you are doing, and the type of splinting supplies you have available. Typically, you will want to use a device made especially for the thumb. However, in certain instances—such as when the tip of the thumb is injured, or when the metacarpophalangeal joint needs extra support—you may be able to use a universally designed finger splint that will fit over the thumb.
How do I support a sprained thumb?
There are a variety of different ways to treat a sprained thumb. It depends on the severity of the injury. For minor sprains, you can use athletic tape or even a product like this Neoprene Wrist/Thumb Wrap. This will prevent the thumb from moving too much, and that will help the healing process and prevent further damage to the ligament.
Doctors will recommend a thumb spica splint or even a cast. This will immobilize the thumb so that it can heal without additional damage. It can take about six weeks for full healing and removal of the splint or cast.
How can I tell if my thumb is fractured?
In some cases, it can be difficult to tell whether a thumb is fractured or if it is injured in some other way. Pain, swelling, and extreme tenderness to the touch are symptoms that can be indicative of fractures and other injuries. You may also experience limited mobility in the thumb. Numbness and coldness are additional symptoms that can indicate a fracture. Make sure a doctor examines you to determine the problem.
More specific symptoms related to fractures include instability of a joint or other part of the thumb and a misshapen look. Suspect a fracture if either of these issues are present—but again, make sure a doctor examines the thumb to make an exact diagnosis.
How long does a broken thumb take to heal?
The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the injury and each patient’s individual ability to heal. In general, most people who experience a broken finger or thumb can expect it to be healed within six to eight weeks, although other medical conditions can slow the healing process down. During this time, you will likely be in a cast and cast liner—like these Cotton Finished Stockinette Splint & Cast Liners.
After the cast is off, it can be between three and four months before your hand returns to full strength. During this time, you’ll need to exercise it regularly to prevent stiffness.
Should I sleep with my thumb brace on?
Yes—in most cases you should sleep with your thumb brace on. If you’re using it for a fracture, for instance, the thumb brace will be crucial to keeping the thumb immobilized while the fracture heals. For other conditions, like arthritis, a thumb brace promotes healing, reduced inflammation, and pain relief by ensuring that your thumb stays in an ergonomic position at all times.
What different types of thumb braces are available?
There are splints, spica splints, braces, immobilizers, and individual finger splints. Splints, spica splints, and immobilizers like the Liberty CMC Thumb Immobilizer are designed to fully immobilize the thumb. Braces may allow a little flexibility, but should limit movement and offer support. Individual finger splints can be designed to fit multiple fingers, including the thumb. These can help protect joints, the tip of the finger, or they can serve to limit movement slightly to aid in joint healing.
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The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, charts, and any other material on this site, is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of medical guidance provided by your physician. No information on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified medical professional about your condition or circumstances before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.