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Thumb metacarpal fracture

Patient information A-Z

What is a thumb metacarpal fracture?

You have broken the long bone of the thumb found in the palm of your hand.

The location of the break will depend on how the injury happened. This injury can happen in a variety of ways including falling onto an outstretched hand or falling off your bike.

thumb metacarpal fracture

Whilst your fracture is healing your wrist and hand may be placed in either a removable splint with thumb support (as shown above) or a cast.

Swelling and bruising at the injury site is normal. Simple, over the counter pain killers and applying ice to the area will help to reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied, wrapped in a tea towel, for 20 minutes, three to four times a day.

You should:

  • Always keep the splint on (if this is your treatment), even at night. It can be removed for hygiene reasons.
  • Keep moving your fingers while wearing the splint (or cast) to help prevent stiffness.
  • Elevate your hand in the days following your injury to help reduce swelling.
  • Remove any rings or jewellery from the affected hand.

You should not:

  • Miss your clinic appointment if this has been requested.
  • Take part in any contact sports or activities which will risk further harm, until instructed it is safe to do so.
  • Wear any rings on this hand until the injured thumb has healed.

Please remember:

Please contact your GP if your condition is not improving, or if your pain relief is not adequate.

If your condition is worsening please contact the Multi professional fracture clinic on 01223 348299 or 01223 257095.

For more information please visit Fracture Info (opens in a new tab)

For any concerns on wounds email the fracture information team.

Please include your hospital number and any photos of your wounds that you would like to be reviewed.

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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151