During a physical exam, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and look for noticeable swelling or lumps on your joints. Your doctor might hold your joint while moving your thumb, with pressure, against your wrist bone. If this movement produces a grinding sound, or causes pain or a gritty feeling, the cartilage has likely worn down, and the bones are rubbing against each other. In the early stages of thumb arthritis, treatment usually involves a combination of non-surgical therapies. If your thumb arthritis is severe, surgery might be necessary.
Treatments for Arthritis of the Thumb
Basilar Thumb Arthritis | Orthopaedic Surgery | Michigan Medicine | University of Michigan
What is it? The joint at the base of the thumb which allows for the swivel and pivoting motions of the thumb is referred to as the basal joint or thumb CMC carpometacarpal joint. Because of its design, it tends to wear out and develop arthritis early in life. Basal joint arthritis is also common in people who have osteoarthritis. It causes pain at the base of the thumb , particularly during pinching or gripping. It also results in weakness of pinch.
Basal joint osteoarthritis of the thumb: a prospective trial of steroid injection and splinting
Arthritis at the base of the thumb is one of the most common locations and can be very disabling. Because the strength and motion of the thumb is required for nearly every activity - whether writing, opening a jar, or buttoning a shirt - pain from this condition may impede the most basic everyday tasks. Like other forms of osteoarthritis , basal thumb arthritis develops when cartilage on the surfaces of the bones that meet at the joint wears away and the metacarpal bone begins to slip out of the joint. This loss of alignment often creates the appearance of a bump near the wrist. For reasons that remain unclear, the degree of inflammation and associated pain can fluctuate.
Osteoarthritis can affect joints in any part of the body, including the thumb. Early diagnosis and treatment help people with thumb osteoarthritis manage their symptoms. Usually, osteoarthritis of the thumb develops after 40 years of age.