Thumb arthritis is one of the commonest problems seen by most hand surgeons, and this problem can interfere with the physical functions of many older adults.
THUMB ARTHRITIS is also called basal joint arthritis. The thumb, which is the most important digit in the hand, can also be affected with arthritis. Arthritis is the problem that causes inflammation of the joint. There are different forms of arthritis, but the most common kind of arthritis that affects the thumb is osteoarthritis, and it is also known as wear and tear arthritis. The arthritis mostly affects the joint at the base of the thumb, this joint is called the corpometacarpal joint. This joint plays an important role when we try to grip something.
Thumb arthritis is mostly seen in adults over 40 years of age and is more common in women than men. The common cause of thumb arthritis is trauma or injury to the joint, but sometimes it may also be associated with osteoarthritis in larger joints. Due to the thumb arthritis the cartilage that covers the bone deteriorates and the bone gets exposed. The bones then rub against each other - resulting in damage of the joint. This joint damage can form a new bone besides the existing bone and can produce lumps on your thumb joint which are visible.
The factors that trigger thumb arthritis are diseases that change the normal structure of cartilage, doing certain activities that keep high pressure on the joint and having a hereditary condition. The most common symptom of thumb arthritis is the pain that occurs at the base of your thumb when you grip something. The other symptoms of thumb arthritis are decrease in strength while gripping an object, enlarged appearance of the joint at the base of your thumb and, swelling, tenderness and stiffness at the base of the thumb.
The treatment of thumb arthritis includes a combination therapy. This combination therapy includes self-care measures, splints, activity modification, medication and physical therapy. In the early stages of the treatment of thumb arthritis nonsurgical treatments are usually effective, but in severe cases you can go for a surgery. There are many surgical options for the treatment of thumb arthritis, and your doctor will select one among them. The options include osteotomy, joint replacement, joint fusion and trapeziectomy.
The medication used for thumb arthritis can be oral or topical. The oral and topical medication for thumb arthritis are acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen and pain relivers like COX-2 inhibitors, meloxicam and tramadol.
Some simple home remedies can bring a lot of improvement in the pain caused by thumb arthritis, and will also help in mobility of the thumb. The simple home remedies are modifying hand tools, performing small exercises and applying heat or cold fermentation.