I am a petite woman; 5' 98lbs. Because I have little fat on my body, I usually do not bruise easily. Three weeks ago I took a bad fall for which I still have significant bruising and swelling on my shins, but what is really bothering is my the thumb on my right hand. I put my hand out to break my fall and the fatty part on the palm side at the base of my thumb has been in pain ever since then,
I thought it would go away or at least improve, but it actually seems to be getting worse. I can not twist caps off bottles or jars, it is extremely painful if I try to extend my thumb across my palm to touch the tip of my pinky, I actually can not do it because the pain is so bad and extends down to my wrist. The fatty pad appears somewhat swollen and hot.
What do you think could be wrong? Do I need medical attention? If so, what would be the quickest way to get the tests/treatment I might need? It currently takes about 3 weeks to get in to see my regular doctor and then if he has to refer me to specialist like an orthopedic or hand doctor that could take another 6 to 8 weeks. I would hate to wait that long just to be told I need a splint. Any advice on these questions would be greatly appreciated. I am not required by my insurance to have a referral to a specialist.
Well, without a detailed clinical evaluation it would be difficult to determine the cause of your symptoms. Possibilities that may need to be considered include fractures, dislocations, injuries to tendons, ligaments etc. I would suggest a visit to the ER to rule out the possibilities; once these have been ruled and the symptoms fail to subside in 2-3 weeks despite adequate rest, one may consider an elective visit to the primary care physician or an orthopedician for a detailed evaluation and suggestion of an appropriate management plan. Meanwhile I would suggest resting the hand; ice-packs/ warm compresses and tylenol/ OTC NSAIDS may be helpful for pain relief as well.
Hope this is helpful.
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