Read below about severe thumb pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your severe thumb pain from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Severe Thumb Pain

Updated on Aug. 29, 2018

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced severe thumb pain. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

    De Quervain's tenosynovitis is a painful condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. If you have de Quervain's tenosynovitis, you will feel pain upon turning your wrist, grasping anything, or making a fist.

    4-6 weeks with treatment

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    hand numbness, thumb pain, hand weakness, weakness in one hand, numbness in one hand
    Symptoms that always occur with de quervain's tenosynovitis:
    thumb pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints. It can affect any joint but is common in the wrist and fingers. RA is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that it is caused by the immune system incorrectly attacking the joints when it shouldn't.

    RA is a chronic disease which requires lifelong control.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, joint pain, muscle aches, daytime sleepiness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Wrist Bone (Scaphoid) Fracture

    A fracture is the medical term for a broken bone. When a person falls on their outstretched hand, the scaphoid is the bone that is most likely to break. It is located on the thumb side of the wrist, in the area where the wrist bends.

    Wrist bone fractures take about 10-16 weeks to heal.

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    hand weakness, swollen thumb, wrist pain that gets worse when gripping something, difficulty moving the thumb, wrist pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Severe Thumb Pain Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having severe thumb pain.

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  4. 4.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway filled with ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the nerve to be compressed. Symptoms usually start gradually, and as they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult.

    Recovery time varies depending on treatment.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, hand weakness, wrist pain, weakness in one hand, pain in both hands
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Sprained Thumb

    Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that hold together bones at joints. The thumb has several ligaments that support it, and these ligaments may get sprained if a person breaks a fall with their thumb. When ligaments become sprained, they do not necessarily tear. Low-grade (or mild) sprains happen when microscopic tears appear in the ligament, causing pain. A sprained thumb may limit a person's ability to grasp items. Other symptoms can involve bruising, tenderness, and swelling.

    Will likely resolve with no treatment within weeks.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    injury from a common fall, recent injury from bracing a fall with the hands, constant hand pain
    Symptoms that always occur with sprained thumb:
    constant hand pain, thumb pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Jammed Thumb

    Jammed thumbs are common in sports but may occur during daily activity.

    2-3 weeks

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    thumb injury, thumb pain from an injury, swollen thumb, finger bruise
    Symptoms that always occur with jammed thumb:
    thumb injury, thumb pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Severe Thumb Pain

  • Q.Let's examine your thumb a bit. What makes your thumb hurt worse?
  • Q.Do you repetitively use your thumb and wrist?
  • Q.Does this hand movement cause you pain? (This is known as Finkelstein test.)
  • Q.Are you currently raising a baby or young child?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our severe thumb pain symptom checker to find out more.

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Severe Thumb Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced severe thumb pain have also experienced:

    • 26% Swollen Thumb
    • 6% Difficulty Moving the Thumb
    • 5% Joint Stiffness
  • People who have experienced severe thumb pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 32% Less Than a Week
    • 24% Over a Month
    • 22% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced severe thumb pain were most often matched with:

    • 40% Wrist Bone (Scaphoid) Fracture
    • 30% De Quervain's Tenosynovitis
    • 30% Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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