Home/Patient Education/Thumb Arthritis
- What is Thumb Arthritis?
- Thumb Arthritis Symptoms
- Thumb Arthritis Diagnosis
- Thumb Arthritis Treatments
What is Thumb Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis of the thumb joint is a very common condition caused by the degeneration of joint cartilage. Thumb arthritis, which is also called basal joint arthritis, typically occurs with aging (usually at the age of 40 or beyond) and can become more likely to develop based on genetic predisposition. Injury of the thumb joint can also lead to thumb arthritis. The condition is painful and can restrict thumb movement.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Thumb Arthritis?
Common signs and symptoms of arthritis at the base of the thumb include:
- Pinching feeling
- Thumb weakness
- Restricted range of motion
How is Thumb Arthritis Diagnosed?
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of thumb arthritis that are negatively affecting your quality of life, it may be time to seek help from an experienced hand surgeon at RPSC Hand Surgery Center. One of our hand surgeons can perform a comprehensive examination of your hand(s) and utilize X-rays to make a proper diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with thumb arthritis, you and your hand surgeon can discuss appropriate treatment methods to relieve discomfort and restore movement.
What Are the Treatment Options for Thumb Arthritis?
Non-surgical treatments are generally the first option in reducing the severity of thumb arthritis symptoms. Non-operative approaches for treating symptoms of thumb arthritis may include:
- Application of heat or cold
- Special exercises
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Ergonomic changes
- Bracing and immobilization
- Reduction of aggravating activities
- Steroid injections into the joint
- Rehabilitative hand therapy
When non-surgical treatments have proven to be ineffective and disruptive symptoms continue, it may be time to discuss surgical treatment options with your hand surgeon. While surgical solutions can be effective, surgery should always be considered as a last resort. Surgical treatments for thumb arthritis may include:
- Ligament Reconstruction
- Ligament Reconstruction and Tendon Interposition (LRTI)
- Total Joint Replacement
- Hematoma and Distraction Arthroplasty
Generally speaking, these surgical techniques involve either cushioning and/or suspending the thumb joint, or fusing the thumb joint together. Our hand surgeons prefer to use minimally invasive hand surgery techniques when possible. Recovery following thumb surgery can take between eight weeks to one year depending on the type of surgery that was performed and your unique rate of healing.
If you are experiencing pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement in your thumb joint and want to find relief, we welcome you to contact RSPC Hand Surgery Center for an appointment with one of our highly skilled and experienced hand surgeons.