Just imagine how it would be if you had to spend an entire day without using your thumb. You will soon figure out that without your thumb it will be difficult to perform everyday tasks like holding a cup of coffee or a spoon, holding a knife to cut vegetables, or even typing to send text messages. This is why if you sprain your thumb you must do everything possible to get it fixed fast to avoid making your life difficult. You need not necessarily visit a doctor to get the problem fixed but can rather follow the 10 simple ways to treat a sprained thumb at home.
10. Take rest
Rest is an element of the mnemonic ‘RICE’ that is used to cure soft injuries. R represents rest, I stand for ice, C for compression, and E for elevation. If you want your sprained thumb to heal fast you must allow it to rest. Proper rest is very important for healing soft tissue damage. Contrarily, if keep on straining your thumb it will cause more pain, inflammation, and cause further injury. Also, without rest, the healing time will be longer. So, do allow your thumb to rest at least for 1-2 days.
The I in RICE denote ice. You can apply a small cube of ice on your sprained thumb to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. Ice helps prevent the ligaments from getting inflamed by reducing the inflammatory response of your body. An ice therapy can also help stop bleeding from torn ligaments.
You need to apply ice on your thumb for the first 48-72 hours after you experience an injury. Just take one big or several small ice cubes in a towel and wrap it. Now apply the compress on your injured thumb for about 15-20 minutes. Repeat this after every 2-3 hours.
The C in RICE means compression. To reduce the swelling and pain from your sprained thumb you need to compress it as soon as you can. Compressing your thumb will help prevent fluid from accumulating in that part. This will also reduce the swelling in that area and prevent further injury.
For compression, you may use an elastic bandage or an ACE wrap. Just wrap the bandage while applying even pressure on your thumb. Do not wrap too tightly as it can then prevent proper circulation and result in more pain. Keep the bandage on throughout the day, and at night before hitting the bed, take it off.
7. Elevate your thumb
The E in RICE denotes elevation. Sprains can result in poor circulation and this can cause more pain and swelling. To help your circulation get better you need to keep your thumb elevated above the chest level.
To keep your sprained thumb elevated above the chest level while sitting, just place a few pillows on the armrest of the sofa or chair you are sitting in. While sleeping, you can keep a few pillows under your hand to keep your thumb in an elevated position.
6. Moist heat therapy
Similar to ice therapy, moist heat will also prove helpful. However, you should use this only within the first 72 hours of experiencing the injury. Heat improves the blood circulation and also warms the muscles in the area, and this, in turn, helps reduce the inflammation and pain.
Just take a towel and soak it in some warm water. Squeeze out the excess and put this warm towel over your thumb and let it stay for about 10 minutes. Repeat this at least few times a day for 2-3 days.
5. Soft tissue massage
Once your swelling and pain are under control you should give the soft tissue massage a try. It will help heal your injured ligament, and a massage will also improve the blood flow to that area.
Simply take a little lukewarm coconut or olive oil and apply it in the affected thumb. Now, massage the area with gentle, long strokes for about 5-10 minutes. After you are done with massaging, take a warm towel and wrap the area with it. Repeat this at least a few times throughout the day.
4. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is rich in capsaicin that has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which can help reduce the pain that you may be experiencing due to your sprained thumb. Capsaicin, when topically applied, creates a warm sensation that proves beneficial in treating soft tissue injuries.
All you need to do is take 1 tablespoon of lukewarm olive oil, add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and mix it. Now, apply this mixture on your thumb and surrounding area and massage for about a minute. After 20-30 minutes, wash off with fresh water. Repeat this procedure twice a day for at least a few days to enjoy the best results.
Turmeric contains Curcumin, which is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that can heal medical conditions like a sprain.
Using this home remedy is very simple. You just need to take a tablespoon of turmeric powder in a bowl and add a little warm olive oil or water to form a paste. Apply this paste on your sprained thumb and wrap it using a bandage. Allow it to stay for about 10 hours, and repeat again after 10 hours. Follow this treatment for a week to get relief. See also; 10 Health Benefits of Turmeric.
Arnica can help cure a sprained thumb. The anti-inflammatory herbs that it contains, reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain. Also, arnica improves circulation and thus speeds up the healing process.
Just take a tablespoon of any carrier oil and to it add a few drops of arnica oil. Mix it and massage the affected thumb with it for about 10 minutes. Wrap the area with a bandage and let it stay for about 2-3 hours. Remove the bandage and repeat the process again after a few hours. You need to follow this for at least a few days.
After you do not use your thumb for a few days your thumb will become stiff and you need to perform some exercise to make your thumb work like normal again.
One of the exercises that you can practice is the ball exercise. You just need to squeeze a soft, small rubber ball using your thumb and fingers for 5 seconds and then release your grip. Repeat this at least a few times a day.
These simple ways to cure your sprained thumb at home do indeed work. It may take a little time to show results, but you definitely are going to enjoy the much-needed relief and that too without any medications.