Thumb arthritis occurs when the cartilage that covers the bones of the thumb joint wears away. The thumb joint is also known as the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint. Thumb arthritis is most common with aging but can also occur from having a previous thumb injury. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease. There is no cure for arthritis. It will not get better and only progesses. Thumb arthritis often makes simple tasks very difficult such as opening jars or opening doors. Up to 33% of all post-menopausal women have thumb degenerative joint disease. 1/3 of those women have thumb pain.
Treatment options offered by a hand doctor for thumb arthritis usually consist of non-surgical therapies. Most commonly, you will be put in a splint in order to support the joint and minimize movement of thumb and wrist. Splints can often times help in decreasing the pain. Doctors will also recommend over the counter pain relievers. However, if pain relievers and the splint are not effective, a corticosteroid injection into the thumb joint is an option. This injection can offer temporary pain relief and reduce inflammation.
Symptoms of Thumb Arthritis
- Pain (esp. with activities that involve pinching or gripping)
- Swelling at base of the thumb
- Decreased strength and range of motion
- Aching after extensive use
- Weakness with activities
- ‘Out-of-joint’ appearance
- Limited or minimal motion
Do you have pain in your thumb when you do everyday tasks? Unable to open a jar because of the pain or loss of strength in your thumb? OrthoNeuro’s orthopedic hand surgeons can help! Call for an appointment today!