Thumb Arthritis Basics

Thumb arthritis is a disease that affects the basal joint located between the thumb and wrist. Researchers claim that it results from factors that can be genetically related or on account of an injury to the joint. Identify the symptoms of thumb arthritis and consult a doctor for the best solution with the help of this article below.

Arthritis is a disease or condition defined by the breakdown of cartilages that induces pain and swelling. Osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis, targets the thumb. Thumb arthritis occurs at the joint where the thumb ends and where the wrist begins. This joint is called the “carpometacarpal joint” or the “basal joint”.

The thumb lends grip to anything that is held or lifted with the hand. So it needs to be treated when affected severely with a cartilage breakdown. Researchers claim that “thumb arthritis” is more common among women than in men. It usually occurs when you attain forty years of age and beyond.

What is Thumb Arthritis?

Thumb arthritis is a condition where the cartilages at the ends of the bone begin to deteriorate at the basal joint. The bones which are cushioned by the cartilages start brushing against it each other and cause damage to the thumb. Though the immune system repairs tissues naturally, it maybe inadequate. This results in additional bone growths on the existing bone which are commonly referred to as bone spurs. The repairing process also causes much discomfort and pain to the thumb.

Causes of Thumb Arthritis:

Researchers have sited a combination of factors that can help determine the underlying causes of thumb arthritis. They include the following:

  • Overweight
  • Aging
  • Genetic factors
  • Excess stress on the joint
  • Prior injury to the joint
  • Weak muscles
  • The estrogen and relaxin hormones present in the joint ligaments

Symptoms of Thumb Arthritis:

Common symptoms of thumb arthritis include the following:

  • Pain and swelling at the base of the thumb
  • A crushing sensation while moving the thumb
  • Limited movement of the thumb
  • Making grip difficult
  • Pain while turning keys, opening doorknobs, etc

Diagnosis for Thumb Arthritis:

The doctor uses a variety of methods to confirm thumb arthritis. Initially, the physical examination would involve a thorough look at the symptoms and the swellings or lumps on the joint. The doctor will then carry out some basic movements to check for discomfort or pain.

X-ray imaging techniques will be the next determining factor for thumb arthritis. Your doctor can recommend the following techniques for you:

  • X-rays
  • Bone scans
  • Computerized tomography scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging scans
  • Arthrography

Treatment for Thumb Arthritis:

Researchers are of the opinion that treatment for thumb arthritis depends upon the stage and severity of the condition. Theses are the available treatments for thumb arthritis:

  • Self care measures that would include a hot or cold compressor.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by the doctor.
  • A supportive splint to heal and relieve the joint from stress, pain and swelling.
  • A cortisone injection on the basal joint can help reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Surgery can be the last option for a sever condition of thumb arthritis.

The doctor will recommend any of the above treatments for relieving you from thumb arthritis.

When to consult a doctor?

Consult a doctor if you suffer from the slightest of pain on your thumb for more than a week or two. Thumb pain can arise because of other reasons like a pinching nerve or snapping tendons in the fingers. No matter what the underlying cause maybe discuss the practicality of a solution to heal your thumb arthritis. Also report the side effects suffered by the use of arthritis medications.

Do not cause any delay in treating your thumb arthritis. Identify the suitability of a treatment and heal the joint between your thumb and wrist for better movement and gripping capacity.