Thumb Arthritis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatments

Thumb arthritis is a common form of osteoarthritis that mainly affects the hand, it is usually caused by injury and wearing out the carpometacarpal joint.

What is Thumb Arthritis?

Thumb arthritis also is known as basal joint arthritis is one of the most common forms of osteoarthritis and is usually affects the hand.

Thumb Arthritis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatments

Thumb arthritis occurs when the cartilage which is responsible for cushioning the ends of the joining bones that form the capometacarpal joint (thumb arthritis) wears out. The wearing out of the cartilage causes friction and damage to the bones and the joints.

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What Causes it?

Thumb arthritis is usually caused by trauma or injury to the joint. A normal basal joint has cartilage that covers the end of the bones but in the case of thumb arthritis, the cartilage wears out and the ends of the bones become rough. The rough bones rubbing at each other result to friction leading to joint damage.

What are its Symptoms?

Thumb arthritis has several symptoms. The common one is pain which occurs at the base of the thumb when you are gripping, pinching and grasping objects between the thumb and the forefinger. The pain can also occur when you use the thumb to apply force for example when you are opening the bottle top, pulling a zipper or when you are turning an ignition key.

When thumb arthritis gets worse you may experience pain even when you are not using the thumb.

Other symptoms of the thumb arthritis include:

  • Limited range of motion
  • Stiffness, swelling, and tenderness at the base of the thumb
  • Bony growth of the joints at the base of the thumb
  • Loss of strength when gripping or grasping things
  • Aching after a prolonged use of thumb
  • Progressive and non-alignment of the joint

How to Treat Thumb Arthritis?

Thumb arthritis can be treated non-surgically or surgically. Nonsurgical treatment is usually done in the early stages of the disorder, read Relief Factor Review this supplement may help you to treat arthritis earlier. When the thumb arthritis becomes chronic, the non-surgical treatment will no longer become effective.

Non- surgical treatments include:

  • Ice treatment. This can be done by icing the joints about five to fifteen minutes several times in a day
  • Taking non anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. These drugs help to reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Use of supportive splint. This helps to limit the movement of the thumb. The supportive splint also helps in protecting the wrist. The supportive splint can be worn during the day or night
  • Use of pain relievers. These can include pain metaxican (mobic), tramadol (conzip, ultram) and COX-2 inhibitors (celebrex)

Arthritis is progressive and a generative disease therefore with time it may worsen. When it worsens you can use steroids which can be injected directly into the joint. The steroids help to provide relief for several months but the injection should not be completed indefinitely.

Surgery becomes an option when the non-surgical treatment is not effective. There are several surgical procedures that can be done, these include:


*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

  • Fusion of the bones of the joints together. This procedure usually limits the movements of the joints
  • Osteotomy. This procedure is also called bone cutting. Osteotomy can be done by repositioning the bones in the affected joint which helps to reduce deformation
  • Arthroplasty. This procedure can be done by removing parts of the joints and a reconstruction is done using the tendon graft or using an artificial substance
  • Trapeziectomy. This procedure is done by removing the trapezium; one of the bones in the thumb joint

You need to discuss with your physician so that you can know the best procedure for you. After the surgery, you should undergo a rehabilitation program so as to recover. A physical therapist can help you during the rehabilitation to regain the movement and strength of the hand.

Full recovery can take several months. Most patients who have undergone the surgery have been able to use their hand normally.

Is Thumb Arthritis Curable?

Thumb arthritis cannot be cured but can be treated using non-surgical procedures. The treatment helps in relieving pain inflammation and swelling. The treatment also helps the patient to be able to perform their normal duties using the hand.

Has any Research Been Done?

There are several kinds of research that are continuing currently. One of the researches includes treatment of thumb arthritis using viscosupplementation (hyaluronic acid). The use of viscosupplementation has been compared to the use of corticosteroids and the administrations of a placebo.

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Bottom Line

You should go for a check up in case you have swelling and feel pain in the wrist for a long period of time. A checkup can help you to know your condition. Early diagnosis of thumb arthritis can help in the treatment of disorder. If the pain becomes too unbearable, have a look at Omega XL Review, which could help relieve your thumb arthritis.

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Evan Jensen, CPT

Evan Jensen is a renowned American Nutritionist, Diet Expert and health writer. He specializes in writing about health, fitness, nutrit

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