The thumb is an important part of your hand. It helps you grip writing utensils, hold the steering wheel, pick up items, and type. Not having full use of the thumb can make everyday activities difficult to perform. If you are struggling with thumb arthritis or any other joint arthritis issues, you should speak with a board-certified orthopedic specialist about your surgical and non-surgical options at OrthoBethesda. Call us today to schedule an appointment about your condition, especially if the pain is often impacting a joint.
Arthritis and Pain at the base of the Thumb
In healthy joints, there is cartilage present that covers the ends of bones, allowing them to move freely against each other without you suffering any pain or discomfort. If you suffer from degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis, the cartilage is no longer present, causing the bones at the base of the thumb to rub against each other without that layer of protection. This is when the pain comes into play.
When it comes to the hand, the second-most common joint to develop osteoarthritis is the thumb joint. The thumb basal joint is an important part of the hand. It is shaped like a saddle and made up of the trapezium (small wrist bone) and the first of the three bones that are part of the thumb (metacarpal).
Who Suffers from Basal Joint Arthritis?
This basal joint condition, also known as joint arthritis, is most common in women who are 40-years-old or older. For the most part, the cause of this type of arthritis is not known. Should you develop this injury at a young age, it could be due to a prior injury to the hand or the wrist. It could also be due to a fracture, sprain, or joint laxity.
Signs and Symptoms of Basal Joint Arthritis
Patients who think they might be suffering from pain at the base of the thumb, or basal joint arthritis, will most often deal with the pain that is present at the base of the thumb. The pain you suffer will be exacerbated when you try to use your fingers to pinch items, write, turn doorknobs, use a key, or open a jar.
As the disease continues to worsen, you could suffer pain while at rest and while sleeping. Many patients complain of losing their ability to pinch or grip items like they used to before basal joint or thumb arthritis became a problem.
Should the disease progress to severe levels, patients will suffer from mal-alignment, which is when a bump develops at the base of the thumb on the hand. The bump occurs when the metacarpal moves out of its natural position. Pinching and gripping actions will be nearly impossible to perform.
Diagnosing Basal Joint Arthritis in Arlington
When you visit a specialist at OrthoBethesda for orthopedic treatment of your joints, the doctor will review your conditions, symptoms, and visually inspect your hands. The doctor will look for fractures, swelling, stiffness, physical deformities, and other problems present with your finger. The doctor will also ask you about your daily activities and if you have lost some physical movement of the thumb.
During the examination, the doctor will put pressure on the thumb and move it in different directions in an attempt to replicate your orthopedic symptoms. X-rays might be ordered in an effort to get a better look at the damage to your thumb, although they will not always reflect the severity of the injury.
Treating Basal Joint Arthritis in Arlington
If you are diagnosed with a joint at the base of the thumb osteoarthritis, the orthopedic treatment methods will vary based on the severity of your case. After x-rays are performed, the doctor will determine the best course of action for your rheumatoid arthritis.
Less severe pain in the joints will often be rectified with non-surgical treatment methods. You could be prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce swelling. The doctor might also recommend physical therapy for your arthritis. You might also be treated with the following joint methods, including:
- Topical ointments
- Corticosteroid injections
If these treatment methods don’t work for your arthritis, the doctor will likely suggest surgery for patients. You might be eligible for joint reconstruction surgery at this point for treatment. Joint surgery is offered in various ways, including the following:
- Arthritic bone removal surgery
- Joint reconstruction
- Bone realignment
- Bone fusion
- Arthroscopic joint procedure in limited situations
Call OrthoBethesda Today to Schedule an Appointment
Have you been suffering from swelling, severe pain, or other symptoms related to your hand? The cartilage in your thumb might have worn away due to an injury or age. If so, a bone rubbing against another can cause a lot of pain. The experienced and trusted team of orthopedic surgeons at OrthoBethesda can conduct a thorough examination of your condition to determine if surgical options are the necessary treatment methods in our Arlington, VA location or Bethesda, MD. Call our office at (301) 530-1010. Arthritis is a degenerative disease that causes a lot of pain at the thumb joint, at the base of the thumb, and other joints. It is more common in women than men, but men of all ages can still experience this issue. Call today for help dealing with arthritis or for more information.