Thumb Arthritis

Thumb arthritis occurs at the basal joint of the thumb. It is also called 1STCMC Joint Arthritis. In this the cartilage, wears out due to various reasons. This causes the joint bones to rub together and wear out and cause pain and discomfort. The Thumb Arthritis is common in women above the age of forty.


The common symptoms of the Thumb Arthritis are:

  • Inability to lift or hold heavy substances
  • Inability in gripping and pinching
  • Swelling around the base of the thumb
  • Pain on thumb movement
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness in the hand
  • Other arthritis conditions like RA (rheumatoid arthritis)


The most common causes associated with Thumb arthritis include:

  • Routine work that stress the thumb joint
  • Hobbies that use the thumb joint
  • Autoimmune disorder, in which the body tissues start attacking itself
  • Family history

Diagnosis of the thumb Arthritis

  • A physical examination is conducted by the doctor on the affected joint. The doctors might ask to move the thumb in certain direction and positions to examine the symptoms.

    Doctors would also like to study the previous injury history, if any, around the area that could also be affecting the joint and causing pain.

    An X-ray is to be conducted to find out the extent of wearing out of the joint bones.

    MRI and other tests could also be recommended to study the symptoms that are causing the pain. Though, these tests totally depend upon patient to patient.

Treatment for Thumb Arthritis

    • Applying heat or ice pads to relieve pain at regular intervals
    • Using splints or straps for support
    • Restricting pain causing motion
    • Medication (Drugs and Injections), to be taken after consulting a doctor

      Arthritis conditions worsen overtime and a timely treatment is must to relieve pain. The non-surgical treatment must also be suggested by doctors. These options help in relieving the pain. Though, these work only on mild to moderate arthritis conditions. Some of the common non-surgical treatment options are:

  • A severe Thumb Arthritis pain, which is not healing even after non surgical remedies, could be treated by surgery as per the doctor’s suggestion after the diagnosis.

    These surgeries involve working on the thumb bones (either removing or fusing) to ease the pain. Some pain and swelling is expected after surgery. Procedure is called as suspensioplasty.

Recovery after treatment

The full recovery after the surgery could take up to six months that depends upon the condition. The mild conditions might see relief within a month. For non surgical treatment the recovery time depends upon patient to patient and the severity of the condition. A chronic arthritis takes a long time to heal.

Recovery from some arthritis conditions demand change in lifestyle. Pain medication is advised after the surgery. A slight hand movement exercises could be suggested while in the recovery period. This prevents stiffness and gain back the lost motion. The exercise must be done in an experienced guidance and should be started only after the suggested gap time after surgery.

The Upper Limb Clinic, Thane west, is dedicated clinic for all diseases related to Knee, Hand, Shoulder, Elbow and Thumb. Contact us today for Thumb Arthritis condition to get better and accurate treatment.