MMA Injuries: Yancy Medeiros' Thumb Dislocation from UFC 159

Photo by Esther Lin

This FanPost was promoted to the Front Page by Anton Tabuena

For an injury and rehab geek like me, UFC 159 will be remembered for two things- Jon Jones' toe injury and Yancy Medeiros' dislocated thumb. Yancy's injury seemed to get lost in the overpowering garishness of Jon Jones' injury, so here I will review his thumb injury.

In the first round of his fight against Rustam Khabilov, Medeiros posted hard on his left hand trying to prevent a takedown, and suffered a dislocation of his right thumb. From the picture above, this dislocation appears to involve the metacarpophalangeal joint. The picture below gives a normal reference for the position of this joint (arrow).


Given that this dislocation was severe enough to stop his fight, I thought I would ask Yancy if he had to have surgery to reapproximate this thumb. His reply:

After the dislocation was reduced, his thumb was immobilized in a gauntlet splint, as shown in the picture below that Yancy posted. As gruesome as this injury was, it appears that Medeiros' recovery should be pretty straight forward. This was a closed dislocation- there was no skin break as occurred with Jon Jones's toe. His thumb will be immobilized for a period of time (a few weeks) to allow healing. A splint such as the one here may be used to protect the injured joint.


Following this, he will gradually start an exercise program to regain range of motion of the joint, then rebuild strength of the hand, finger and thumb, and wrist muscles in general. (Here is a good video that shows some of the unique exercises for strengthening the thumb.) As with any injury that an athlete sustains, rehab will ultimately include a return to controlled functional activity. For example, a progression of functional, fight-related rehab might include maintaining a solid fist, then progress to striking to allow the hand to accept light impact, then progression to grappling, etc. With each progression in his program, his rehab team will probably be evaluating the injured joint's response to the activity. Barring any complications, I would expect Medeiros to be ready for unrestricted training in 6-8 weeks.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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