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Suggest treatment for numbness in the thumb

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1773 Questions
My boyfriend was bitten by my dog yesterday evening and he has been experiencing numbness in an area on his thumb. He has a puncture XXXXXXX just under the knuckle and another one just by his fingernail. We cleaned the site good and did half hydrogen peroxide, half warm water soak. Currently he has a bandaid on with some antibiotic ointment. There doesn't appear to be any signs of infection both sites look good. His main concern is the numbness and if it is something permanent or temporary? Thanks.
Posted Fri, 27 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 25 minutes later

Thanks for the query.

First of all I would like to answer the most important part of the query.

I hope the dog is completely vaccinated. If not, you guys have to observe the dog for 10 days. If the dog is doing well, not to bother about rabies but a local examination by RN / Primary physician helps. If the dog turns wild or sick, your boy friend has to immediately go in for Anti Rabies vaccination. It consists of 5 shots of vaccine on Day 0, Day 3, Day 7, Day 14 and Day 28. Day 0 being the day of first vaccine. Whereas if the dog is vaccinated, there is no need to worry about 'Rabies'.

Next I appreciate your first aid measures initiated and the way you kept the wound clean.

The numbness of the area on the thumb might be because of these reasons
1) Injured nerve near it or the compression of the nerve because of the swollen tissue near it.
2) Since the puncture may involve the bones of the knuckle, they may be a pain and numbness relating to it.
They usually get better as the injury lessens. Hence it should be temporary problem. Therefore I first recommend an Over the counter medicine like IBUPROFEN, 200mg after a meal, thrice a day for couple of days. This reduces the pain and swelling.

If the pain and swelling does not reduce and still the numbness persists then it warrants a physical examination by a doctor. An Xray might be the next investigation ordered.

Hope it helps.
Dr. Mazumdar.

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