Recovery from Thumb injury

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  • Recovery from Thumb injury
  • Premier Icon christhetall

    Had a high-speed crash a couple of weeks ago and ended up with a bad sprain of my right thumb (and probably a slight chip – XRays inconclusive). Slowly getting the movement and strength back, but there’s still a lot of swelling at the base of thumb.

    I’m not really looking for medical advice, but has anyone else done something similar and if so how long before you were able to comfortably grip a handlebar

    Also, any advice on particularly well-padded gloves or other ideas on how to protect the thumb whilst riding (it’s been over 2 weeks – I’m going crazy!)

    I had a similar injury nothing broken just sprains. I mine was so bad that it had to be put in a paster cast for 6 weeks to allow everthing to heal.

    I had physio to regain strengh and movement. I was given theraputuic putty to play with. A different grade of putty every week. It took me 6 weeks to get back on the bike. It took a further 12 months to regain 90% of what I had prior to the accident and 3 years later I’m still finding improvements.

    Premier Icon iainc

    not injury, but I have dodgy joints and my left thumb always aches – various strengthening excercisces, suing ‘gripmaster’ and similar stuff works well. I also had to move my reverb lever to the other side, and 2×10 reduces front shifting a bit !

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    I did mine in a similar way mid-December last year – was ‘just soft tissue’ but was a real problem for me.

    Took me 8 weeks to get back on a bike and it’s still not quite ‘right’.

    I took up running round the woods, and tbh, given the weather over the winter it wasn’t quite as bad being off the bike as I thought it would be.


    Had a bad crash end of April. Braking finger was compression crushed i think… Its still not right but continual use with faulty brakes isn’t helping… Really should get back for an Xray as a lump has stayed despite all the swelling now gone and I drill don’t have full range of movements. I did go once and Dr’s said yep defo an Xray… I’m still waiting for that appointment. Do they not realise how awkward it is to get back in to see them again! Or how much I can’t be bothered to be available for an appointment!


    I did mine Saturday, small bit of bone pulled off where the ligament attachs at the bottom joint of thumb. Saw the specialist yesterday, no mountain biking for at least 5 weeks (avoiding trigger shifters esp). I can commute on the roadie with paddle shifters (although he wasn’t entirely happy with this. I have to keep the splint on 24/7 for the next 3 weeks, after that I can take it off to sleep. Bloody pain though it is, the injury doesn’t hurt but the splint is really awkward. If I do as he says then there is a 95% chance I don’t need to have it screwed back together, so I’ll follow the docs advice.
    I’m guessing it’ll be mainly wind training for me for the next 5 weeks or so. Got good advice about trainers from people on here in another thread.
    Good luck with yours.

    Premier Icon Simon

    I smashed my right thumb to pieces July 2012, I had to have it plated and was in plaster for the best part of 2 months. I started riding again pretty much as soon as the pot came off. Changing gear was painful so I avoided it!
    It’s still not 100% now and I doubt it ever will be, I can’t do a proper thumbs up with my right hand and it aches sometimes.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    I crashed on the first lap of a SITS and knackered my thumb. It was agony, people were giving me funny looks as I went ‘oo ow argh **** argh shit’ over every single bump. I still carried on the race though and did a further 7 or so laps.. even though some other on the team wimped out, which didn’t impress me.

    Anyway.. the pain went away after a few weeks but the swelling in the joint was still there for about 18 months.. Although mine probably was not as bad as some others on here.


    Yep did mine at Fort Bill 3 months ago. Off the bike for about 2 weeks. Still riding with one hand perched on top of the bar sometimes (Not so good for technical riding :?) but getting sloooowly better. Stupid crash as well.

    Oh and change gear with the palm of your hand (Mine is left side)

    Premier Icon christhetall

    Thanks for the replies – I guess my injury is a lot less severe than some of yours.

    Back on the bike today, but it’s a bit uncomfortable. I was given a splint to wear, but it presses on the swelling so I’m not convinced it does any good. I guess like any sprain it’s a balance between doing gentle exercises and not overdoing it.

    And yes I’ve taken up running – often along the tracks I normally ride along – probably just adding to the sense of frustration !


    I’ve got long term ligament issues with both my wrists in the thumb area up in to the wrists I’ve found this type of strap useful when there a bit sore.
    They just support it enough and don’t get in the way while riding.
    Mind you I got mine from the nhs and there a bit different a basic meal bar and basic Velcro scrapping but her enough the same. Good luck.

    Premier Icon Jon Taylor

    Hurt my RH wrist and LH thumb in a crash a few years back.

    Got some bendier handlebars (Salsa Bend 2).
    Changing gear was painful so I rode the singlespeed more.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    One thing I found really helped with speeding up recovery was using my mouse with the other hand.

    I spend a large part of my day using a mouse and I think just having to use the damaged muscles and ligaments to push and pull it around wasn’t giving them a chance to rest and heal. Within a week I’d made a significant improvement and wished I’d not spent a month after the accident using it for mouse duties without thinking about it more.

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