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Ow! I Smashed My Thumb!

Caring for a Smashed Thumb

“Ow! I smashed my thumb! Now what do I do?”

At one time or another, most everyone experiences a smashed finger. The less severe examples of these injuries can easily be treated at home. Other times, medical attention is required. In any case, understanding the injury and knowing how to treat it is necessary. Failing to properly care for a smashed thumb or finger could lead to unnecessary pain, potential infection or even permanent damage to the digit.

Protect those fingers and thumbs. You have no idea how much you rely on the use of your thumbs, until you can no longer use them effectively! How do I know this? Do you see that pretty multi-colored thumb in the photo? That belongs to me. The photo was taken about 3 weeks after I slammed it in the Jeep door. When I say I slammed it in the door, what I really mean is the car door closed tight with my thumb still inside, and, due to the cold temperature (it was December) and the injury, I couldn’t even feel it. Until I opened the Jeep door…¬†Thankfully, no bones were broken in my smashed thumb, and because I cautiously cared for it, never became infected. I’ve had numerous infections in my fingers in the past and was grateful not to go down that road with this already painful injury. My thumb, however, was squished flat and began throbbing immediately upon release from the door. Within hours, it was swollen to three times it’s normal size.

Going through the healing process was like growing my own science experiment on my hand. “What will happen to the thumb next? What color or gross stuff will I find today when I look?” Let’s just say, all the little boys at church couldn’t wait to check out my finger each week to get grossed out all over again! :)

During the first month, the thumb was three times its normal size, throbbed continuously for weeks, turned every possible shade, and the nail fell off. Once the nail fell off, I became even more diligent with my first aid care to prevent infection in the smashed thumb. Until a new thumbnail had a chance to grow, it was unprotected and vulnerable to infection and reinjury. In time, it did heal. Now I have one fingernail that is tougher than nails (Get it? Nails — fingernails) and never breaks. Other than that, there is absolutely no permanent change to my thumb. Read more to learn how to treat a smashed thumb

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Health Books by Jo Brielyn