Most activities that involve grasping or pinching are possible because of the thumb's remarkable range of motion. But dexterity comes at a price — an increased risk of osteoarthritis in the first carpometacarpal CMC joint, where the thumb meets the trapezium bone in the wrist. Sometimes the joint becomes so damaged that surgery is necessary.
Osteoarthritis in the thumb is the most common form of arthritis that affects the hands. Osteoarthritis results from the breakdown of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. It can affect the basal joint, which is the joint near the wrist and the fleshy part of the thumb.
Although these therapies may not always provide long-term relief, for most people with thumb arthritis, they can effectively lessen symptoms, and surgery may not be necessary. Surgery for arthritis of the thumb is usually a treatment of last resort. The thumb is designed to give you a wide range of motion, enabling you to pinch, grip and grasp objects.
Could this be the beginning of arthritis? If so, at what point should I see a doctor? Can arthritis be treated in the beginning stages? If the discomfort is disrupting your daily routines — or if the symptoms get worse or you notice new ones — it would be a good idea to see your primary care physician for an evaluation.
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Exercising may be the last thing you want to do when your joints are stiff and achy. But exercise is a crucial part of osteoarthritis treatment in order to ease pain and stay active. Osteoarthritis is a chronic and progressive disease characterized by loss of the cartilage that covers and protects the ends of the bones where they meet at a joint.
Erosive osteoarthritis is considered an uncommon and unique type of hand osteoarthritis OA. It's unique because there is joint inflammation involved, which leads to characteristic x-ray findings, as well as more severe joint pain and stiffness. By gaining knowledge about this disease, you can hopefully understand why it's more disabling than typical hand OA.
Thumb arthritis is common with aging and occurs when cartilage wears away from the ends of the bones that form the joint at the base of your thumb — also known as the carpometacarpal CMC joint. Thumb arthritis can cause severe pain, swelling, and decreased strength and range of motion, making it difficult to do simple tasks, such as turning doorknobs and opening jars. Treatment generally involves a combination of medication and splints.
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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.