Thumb Arthritis

By: Dr. Doron Ilan

Do you have?

  • Pain in thumb and/or wrist with activities that involve gripping, grasping or pinching, such as opening a jar, turning a key, or taking milk out of the fridge
  • Swelling and tenderness at the base of the thumb (fleshy part)
  • An aching discomfort after prolonged use such as writing 
  • Loss of strength in gripping or pinching activities
  • An enlarged, “out-of-joint” appearance
  • Development of a prominence or bump over the joint at the junction of thumb and wrist

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may have arthritis at the base of your thumb, or “Basal Joint Arthritis”, the wearing out of the cartilage at the joint that allows you to oppose your thumb (the human joint).

Thumb arthritis can start as early as 40 years old and is more frequent in women. With proper diagnosis by an Orthopedic Surgeon/Hand Specialist, you can begin to gain some relief through various treatment options, depending on severity of symptoms and effect on activities of daily living.

Treatment of Thumb Arthritis

  • Initial treatments may involve activity adjustments, rest, bracing, oral or topical anti-inflammation medications, specific exercises and hand therapy.   
  • Most people are successfully managed without surgery but eventually symptoms may no longer respond to treatment and at that point surgery may be considered 
  • There are many conditions that can mimic arthritis (tendinitis, cysts, sprains, joint inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome) so it is important to see an Orthopedic surgeon/hand specialist to confirm the diagnosis.

Diagnosis is the first step, so reach out to us to schedule your appointment with one of our board-certified doctors today for an evaluation.