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J Athl Train. 1997 Jan-Mar; 32(1): 68–71.
PMCID: PMC1319240

Felt Augmentation for Thumb Dislocation

Joel W. Beam, MEd, ATC
Joel W. Beam is Head Athletic Trainer at University of North Florida, 4567 St. Johns Bluff Road S., Jacksonville, FL 32224-2645.



To describe a nonsurgical approach for the treatment of an isolated dorsal dislocation of the carpometacarpal joint of the thumb that remained unstable immediately following closed reduction and casting.


An isolated dorsal dislocation of the thumb is an uncommon injury. The dislocation that remains stable following closed reduction has been treated conservatively with immobilization. Dislocations that remain unstable following closed reduction have been stabilized surgically with favorable results.


Materials and application guidelines for a thumb spica cast are presented. Anatomic alignment of the dislocation can be revealed with postcasting radiographs. Possible complications from the immobilization are also presented.

Clinical Advantages:

This nonsurgical approach can be used to avoid percutaneous pinning, to return the athlete to competition without loss of playing time, to provide an effective closed reduction, and also to allow full range of motion of the elbow and uninvolved fingers.

Full text

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Shah J, Patel M. Dislocation of the carpometacarpal joint of the thumb. A report of four cases. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1983 May;(175):166–169. [PubMed]
  • Watt N, Hooper G. Dislocation of the trapezio-metacarpal joint. J Hand Surg Br. 1987 Jun;12(2):242–245. [PubMed]
  • Eaton RG, Littler JW. Ligament reconstruction for the painful thumb carpometacarpal joint. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1973 Dec;55(8):1655–1666. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association