About Thumb Arthritis

Thumb arthritis, also known as basal joint arthritis, is the degeneration of the thumb joint at the base of the thumb metacarpal. Thumb arthritis is usually found in the trapezium/metacarpal joint (TMC), but it can be present in the joint below the TMC as well. It is the second most common form of arthritis in the hand, surpassed only by arthritis in the last joint of each finger.

What are the symptoms of Thumb Arthritis?

The most common symptom of thumb arthritis is pain at the junction of the thumb and the wrist, which is exacerbated by pinching, or flexing, those bones together. Many times there is deformity of the wrist, including loss of the web space between the thumb and index finger. Swelling and stiffness of the joint are also common symptoms of basal joint arthritis.

We Specialize in:

  • Hand Conditions
  • Wrist Conditions
  • Elbow Conditions

How is Thumb Arthritis treated?

The name of the game in treating thumb arthritis is controlling pain and maximizing quality of life. Generally, thumb arthritis will progress for years before patients seek treatment. Furthermore, there is no prevention or preventative treatments one can undergo for arthritis. Additionally, there is no benefit to early surgical intervention. Once you have been diagnosed with basal joint arthritis, your initial treatment plan will likely consist of bracing and periodic steroid injections. There are no exercises that would help thumb arthritis, so physical therapy can do little to improve the condition.

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