Your hand plays a vital role in everyday tasks. You use your thumb daily to grasp and pinch objects, open jars, dress up, and do countless other tasks. Even if you know the numerous functions you can perform with your thumb, you may not be completely aware of how the first
carpometacarpal or CMC joint helps it do its job. The CMC joint is located where the thumb meets the wrist. This joint can become worn out due to age, leading to thumb arthritis. It pains, swells, decreases your range of motion, and restricts your thumb movements. Imagine being unable to perform the simplest of tasks necessary every day. Challenging, isn’t it?
One experiences pain at the base of the thumb, making it basal joint arthritis. The pain originates when the person grips, grasps, pinches an object, or even uses the thumb to apply force. It is a universal joint that moves in all directions and is exposed to great force when using the hand. It then becomes more severe with periods of pain and increased swelling. The most typical cause is family history, genetics, or even an injury to the cartilage or bone. Moreover, women are more likely to experience thumb arthritis after age 40.
What to Do?
· Use supportive splints to limit thumb movements. It protects the wrist and thumb and may be worn for an extended period or overnight.
· Apply cold packs to reduce swelling and pain several times a day.
· Pain relieving medications.
· Use tools instead of using hand strength to open jars, etc.
During your consultation, our hand doctor will ask about your symptoms, pain patterns, activities that aggravate the condition, and if you have had any prior injuries to your thumb. Our doctor will also examine your hand, holding the joint firmly while moving the thumb, to see if
pain or a gritty feeling is present or if a grinding sound can be heard (crepitus). This exam is done to see if the bones rub directly against each other. Additionally, x-rays are ordered to check for joint deterioration and any bone spurs or calcium deposits that may have developed. Since many people with thumb arthritis also have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, our doctor
may also check for that.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of thumb arthritis, contact Form Hand Therapy at (510) 350-3030 to schedule a consultation with Basil R. Besh. He is an expert in upper extremity and hand conditions. He is fellowship-trained and has a subspecialty certificate in hand surgery. Your hands should be cared for by an expert, so request a consultation online for your convenience.