I do theatre work as a hobby. During a recent rehearsal, I was supposed to be dragging a character across the stage. Of course, one is not trying to hurt the other person, so I maintained a relatively loose grip on her wrist, largely using my thumb and forefinger to guide her and follow her movement. Unfortunately, this time she decided to add some extra mustard to her struggles and something happened to my thumb. I'm not certain if it got twisted off to one side or if I took too much pressure at the web of the juncture, but it hurts when I move it too much, and I've got mild weakness at the extent of movement. Possibly relevant, the tendon that runs along the back base of the thumb is slightly pronounced right now.

So, my question is, are there any tricks to recovery from an injury like this? I don't think I've broken anything, but it is a nuisance. I've been trying to keep moving it so that I don't have to worry about it stiffening up. On a side note, are there some good tips for preventing this in the future other than asking my fellow thespian to tone down the thrashing? In an actual combat situation, I probably would have applied more pressure, pushing the ulna and radius together, but again, I was trying not to cause pain.


If you have been injured, the best thing to do is go and see your doctor or a physiotherapist! The Internet is a wonderful source of information, but you definitely shouldn't rely on it for medical advice.

That being said, using ice will help reduce the swelling (if any). Ibuprofen or a similar anti-inflammatory will help with the swelling and the pain.

Thumbs are very easy to damage and very inconvenient when you do damage them! In some ways, breaking it would have been preferable, because you would have had it seen by a medic (rather than asking the Internet!). Soft tissue injuries can often be harder to deal with, too.

To prevent future injuries, make sure everyone involved in a scene involving physical activities (like dragging someone) is briefed on how the scene will be performed so that everyone knows what to expect; a briefing should be done every time the scene is performed.

To re-iterate, please see your doctor (or physio, or other suitable medical professional) for appropriate advice on your injury.

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  • If you have no family doctor or GP, go to your local walk-in clinic. Honestly, go to whichever one will get you in quickest. Don't mess around with thumb injuries. – shadowbane Apr 2 '15 at 17:12
  • As it turns out, it's fine, but I'm buying lunch for a stage combat instructor today in exchange for some advice on not repeating this in the future. – Macaco Branco Apr 3 '15 at 12:53

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