When arthritis can no longer be managed, surgery is an option.

INJURY
Arthritis – Base of the Thumb

ALSO KNOWN AS
Osteoarthritis (at the basal joint)

ABOUT
Arthritis occurs when the cartilage covering the bones at the joint begin to wear away causing friction at the site and does not move smoothly. This friction can cause increasing damage at the joint.

COMMON INJURY
It is possible that arthritis can be caused from a previous fracture or injury at the joint. The condition typically affects those 40 years old or over and more often in women than men.

DIAGNOSIS
A physician can identify the condition with a physical exam and discussing your symptoms (limited mobility, pain, swelling, activities causing discomfort, and previous injuries). Arthritis at the base of the thumb is generally noticed by loss of strength and pain while gripping or pinching with the thumb. X-rays may be taken and can identify degeneration or bone abnormalities.

NON SURGICAL TREATMENT
Arthritis can be managed with cold packs, anti-inflammatory medications for pain and swelling and limiting your movement of the area. If the condition worsens, steroid injections might be an option.

SURGICAL TREATMENT
When non surgical treatment is no longer helpful, there are two surgical options. The bones of the joint can be fused together or reconstruction of the joint can be performed.

Arthritis – Base of the Thumb
Image courtesy of AAOS