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A. Schuyler, NP
A. Schuyler, NP, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 16308
Experience:  Board Certified NP, MS, RN. 25 years private practice & hospitalist
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M thumb keeps popping out of joint. I don't recall injuring

Customer Question

M thumb keeps popping out of joint. I don't recall injuring it. It seems stiff and more prone to pop out in the morning. I've been wearing brace, especially at night. In the morning I take the brace off and work the thumb and loosen it a bit and then it seems ok, but still a little sore at the base. After I loosen it up, it doesn't want to pop out, and seems to have full range of motion. But at times it still wants to pop out, and it is painful when it does pop.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Onlinedoc replied 4 years ago.


Do you have pain at base of thumb?

Associated swelling,redness on affected area?

Wrist pain?

What is your occupation?

Duration of symptoms?

Are you taking any medicines?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Some occasional mild pain at the base.

No noticeable swelling or redness or wrist pain.

currently unemployed, doing some carpentry/woodworking to make ends meet.

Started about 4 weeks ago. Started using a wrist brace, and have noticeable improvement. Not constant or serious pain. Once my hand loosens up it rarely pops out of joint. It always causes pain when it pops out of joint.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Other.
I received a reply to my initial question. I was asked a few more questions about my problem. And then didn't received any reply about what my injury could be, how to treat or improve it.
Expert:  A. Schuyler, NP replied 4 years ago.


Answers provided are for informational use only and do not confer patient-provider relationship. My name is ***** ***** I will help you.

There was probably no response because the expert is located in another country.

There are several reasons for a thumb to "pop" out of joint. It is also necessary to identify exactly which joint it is. If it is the one at the very base of the thumb where it connect to the wrist, possible causes are osteoarthritis, former or current injury, or repetitive motion injury. It is possible that you could have a torn ligament that resultsin the instability of the joint. Each time it pops out of joint it further injures the ligament.

Truthfully, the only way to know for sure is to have an orthopedist examine it and look at the xrays. As for what you can do until you see a medical provider, that would be to immobolize it. You can take ibuprofen for pain if you don't have digestive issues. Ice applied in a towel for 20 minutes 3 times a day will also help. If it isn't better in a week, you need to see a provider. Conservative treatment is what I have already described plus perhaps a steroid injection into the joint to relieve inflammation. If conservative treatment doesn't work over a reasonable time, then surgery to stabilize the joint would be the next step.

If you don't have insurance, there are many free clinics that can help you. There are lists below, but you may find other, more convenient ones, in your local telephone directory since not all local clinics make the national lists.

Please let me know if you have questions.

Best regards,