The 21-year-old man from Westport, Massachusetts shared his first video to TikTok in August, 2019, and quickly became a viral sensation, with views spiking periodically over time since then. He was interviewed by The Boston Globe in September, 2019, and his mom even verified that the social media images show his real thumb.
Pina and his thumb rose to fame again with a Buzzfeed story August 26, 2020, in which he again insisted the thumb is real.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jacob Pina Can Extend His Thumb to Be More Than 5 Inches Long
Jacob Pina’s thumb is unusual because he is able to dislocate it and extend it to be more than 5 inches long, he told Buzzfeed.
“I just dislocate my thumb, by forcing it out of its socket, to make it appear longer,” he said.
His thumb is usually a normal length, but he is able to extend it to about 5 1/2 inches, Pina told Buzzfeed.
Pina’s thumb entered the realm of social media when it debuted on TikTok on August 25, 2019. In the video, he smacks his thumb against his leg, and bends it up and down.
“My actual thumb :),” he wrote. “enjoyyy.”
The video had 20,000 likes in an hour, he told The Boston Globe.
2. Jacob Pina Discovered His Thumb Was Unusual in His Freshman Year of High School
Jacob Pina first discovered his thumb was longer than those of his peers during his freshman year of high school, he said in an interview with The Boston Globe. One of his friends pointed it out to him, and they began joking about it, he said.
“For me, I’m [5’ 10”], so it’s weird on my hand,” he said. “It’s out of place. All my fingers are long, so when I stretch out my hand it kind of looks normal. But when I stick it up, it looks crazy.”
People often question whether or not his thumb is real, he told The Boston Globe.
“No app. No photoshop, and it’s not a Snapchat filter. It’s real. It’s real, dude,” Pina told the Globe. “Everybody says, ‘That’s fake man, you’re using some sort of trick.’ Nope. I don’t photoshop. I don’t do anything like that.”
3. Jacob Pina’s Doctor Said His Thumb Is Unusual, But Not a Medical Problem
Jacob Pina asked his doctor about his unusual digit, who said his ability to extend his thumb is unusual, but does not appear to be caused by any medical problems.
“My doctor says it’s abnormal but can’t officially link it to any known medical conditions,” he told Buzzfeed.
Dislocating it and extending it isn’t painful for him, he said in an interview with NBC Boston Channel 10 news.
“Yes it’s real, but the thing is I have to dislocate and extend it for it to look long,” Pina said. “No it’s not painful, it’s normal. I’ve been doing it for years.”
4. Jacob Pina Has 1.1 Million Followers on TikTok & 38,300 Followers on Instagram
Jacob Pina posts videos on TikTok with his thumb as the star. He often answers questions about his thumb, like why he isn’t the thumb wars world champion, or posts jokes featuring his thumb.
In one video, he put his hand in dirt, sprinkles “plant food” on it, waters it and extends his thumb. The video shows how he is able to dislocate his thumb to make it longer.
“All done! It even grew flowers, too,” he says on the video.
5. Jacob Pina’s Mom Said She Always Joked His Thumb Became Long From Gaming
Jacob Pina’s mom, who learned about his social media stardom shortly after his first video went viral, confirmed in an interview with The Boston Globe that her son’s long thumb is, in fact, real.
“This is his thumb. This is his thumb. I can totally settle this. I can concur,” his mother, Karen Pragana, told a Globe reporter. “That’s what it looks like in person. When he holds it up, and makes this fist and sticks it out, that’s what it looks like.”
She said she noticed how long it was becoming when he was growing up, but it was never a concern. She would joke with her son that it became so long from playing video games.
“He never had trouble using his hands or anything like that. He’s very lanky, and I have always said, you have piano fingers — or surgeon’s fingers. But no, it was never a concern,” she said. “I always joked with him that it got that way from gaming. He’s a big-time avid gamer.”