A to Z: Dislocation, Thumb

A to Z: Dislocation, Thumb

A to Z: Dislocation, Thumb

A dislocation is when the bones in a joint slip out of their normal position. A dislocated thumb may happen from a fall, blow, or sports injury, especially if the thumb is bent back or jammed.


More to Know

An X-ray is usually used to diagnose a dislocated thumb. The bones may move back into place on their own or a doctor may gently put the joint back with a quick maneuver called a reduction. In some cases, surgery is needed to repair the joint.

To keep the joint from dislocating again, a splint is put on the thumb (the splint might later be changed to a cast). The splint or cast is worn for a few weeks while the thumb heals. Also, a sling (sleeve to hold the arm up) may be fitted to help with swelling.

Keep in Mind

With proper treatment, most people who dislocate a thumb can gradually return to their normal activities. The thumb may feel sore or stiff for a while.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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Related Resources
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) The AAOS provides information for the public on sports safety, and bone, joint, muscle, ligament and tendon injuries or conditions.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAmerican College of Sports Medicine This site has tips on staying safe while playing sports and exercising.
OrganizationNational Athletic Trainers' Association This site contains information on certified athletic trainers and tips on preventing and healing sports injuries.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.
OrganizationAmerican Sports Medicine Institute The mission of ASMI is to improve the understanding, prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries through research and education.
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