Bennett Fracture: Cause & Treatments

A Bennett fracture happens when the bone located at the base of the thumb dislocates and breaks. It can be due to a sudden trauma during high impact sports or accidents. A Bennett fracture will result in swelling of the thumb, pain and the inability to use the thumb. In this article, we will look at the causes and treatments for Bennett fractures.

Causes

The causes of a Bennett’s fracture can differ. However, it happens when the metacarpal bone located in the arm fractures and breaks. This can be due to any kind of forces that will result in a huge impact sufficient to break it.

Treatments

Treatment is classified into non-surgical and surgical. For minor cases where the bones are not misaligned, non-surgical will be more than sufficient. The initial stages of treatment will involve the famous RICE therapy – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Resting involves immobilising the injured hand and preventing any stresses on it. During this period, the patient is not allowed to participate in any activities. Several times a day, the injured thumb will need to be iced in order to bring down the swelling. To prevent swelling and loss of blood, compression finger sleeves may be worn. This will also help to retain body heat and enhance blood circulation. Lastly, the injured thumb needs to be elevated above the heart to drain away excess blood. Bracing and casting may be required depending on the activity level of individual patients.

Surgical treatment is also classified into invasive and minimally invasive. In minimally invasive surgery, a surgical wire will be inserted through a small incision aided by cameras. However, this method is highly dependent on the stability of the injury and the alignment of the metacarpal bone. If the bones fragments are scattered, an invasive surgery will need to be carried out in order to remove these bone fragments. A small screw will be used to hold the fragments together until they heal on their own. One popular surgical treatment is the Kirschner wire fixation. The K-wires are made up of surgical grade stainless steel and are temporary fixation tools. The pins are drilled into the bones and act as an anchor point for skeletal traction.

Unlike other injuries, Bennett’s fracture cannot really be prevented due to the various uses of the hand and the fingers. However, this fracture can be avoided to a certain extent using medical tapes to tape the thumb and index finger together.

 

 

 

Causes And Symptoms Of Sprained Thumb

A sprain thumb is a common injury that is characterized by the tearing of soft connective tissues such as the ligaments and cartilage in the joint of the thumb. Another common term is “Skier’s Thumb” and the sport that has the highest prevalence is as you have guessed, skiing. Sprained thumbs will lead to swelling and tenderness in the finger and will happen to anyone who may unfortunately experienced one of the causes mentioned below in this article.

There are 2 small bones in the thumb known as the phalanges. They join each other at the Interphalangael Joint and to the 1st metacarpal, forming 2 joints in the thumb. Each of the thumbs is in turn supported by strong connective tissues, which acts as a cushion when there is an impact force exerted. During movements such as stretching or compressing, the thumb is subjected to high forces, which may damage the connective tissues, causing them to sustain damages. This will result in the condition known as a sprained thumb.

Causes of a sprained thumb

There are numerous causes of sprained thumbs but the most common ones are during a high impact ball sports such as basketball and netball. Certain incidents will increase the risk such as the unexpected bending either forward or backwards of the thumb. Sprained thumbs can also happen due to collisions with another player at high speeds or while trying to cushion a fall with the hand. It may also occur due to overuse injuries. This will happen in people who repeatedly use the thumb for certain activities without giving sufficient recovery time to it.

Symptoms of a sprained thumb

Patients who have a sprained thumb will often go unnoticed. However, they will experience sudden sharp pain attacks during activities even after it has passed and at random intervals. Some may also suffer from stiff fingers when they wake up in the morning or after a period of rest due to the lack of mobility and movement. The pain will be mostly at the sides and top of the affected finger. In some cases, there will be a pop sound heard immediately after an injury indicating a high likelihood of a sprained thumb. Swelling and bruising will occur as fast as minutes after the injury and simple daily tasks such as tying of shoelaces or even opening a bottled drink can be near impossible.

A sprained thumb should not be ignored and should be treated immediately as it involves the connective tissues such as the ligaments. If left untreated, it may lead to long term instability of the finger joint and arthritis.