What is thumb arthritis?

Thumb Arthritis

What are the symptoms of arthritis at the base of the thumb?

Symptoms of arthritis at the base of the thumb include aching in your joint. Or the pain may feel burning or sharp. You may feel clicking, creaking, or catching in the joint. It may get stiff. You may have more pain and less strength when you pinch or grip things.

Symptoms may come and go, stay the same, or get worse over time.

How is arthritis at the base of the thumb treated?

Arthritis at the base of your thumb may be treated with rest, pain relievers, steroid medicines, using a brace or splint, and—in some cases—surgery.

To help relieve pain in the joint, rest your sore hand. Switch hands for some activities. You can try heat and cold therapy, such as hot compresses, paraffin wax, cold packs, or ice massage.

Your doctor may give you a splint to wear during some activities or when pain flares up.

You can often manage mild or moderate arthritis pain with over-the-counter pain relievers. These include medicines that reduce swelling, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. You can also use acetaminophen. Sometimes these medicines are in creams that you can rub on your thumb and hand. Your doctor may also prescribe other medicine for your pain.

For some people, steroid shots may be an option.

If none of the treatments work, your doctor may discuss surgery with you.

What causes arthritis at the base of the thumb?

Experts don't know what causes arthritis at the base of the thumb. But aging, a lot of use, an injury, or family history may play a part.

What is arthritis at the base of the thumb?

Arthritis at the base of the thumb joint is wear and tear on the cartilage. Cartilage is a firm, thick, slippery tissue. It covers and protects the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint. When you have arthritis, there are changes in the cartilage that cause it to break down. The bones rub together and cause joint damage and pain.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.