Osteoarthritis in the thumb is caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage covering the underlying bone. As wear progresses the cartilage is worn away causing bone to rub against bone. The joint normally allows you to pinch, pivot and swivel your thumb and when arthritis occurs this becomes very painful.
You may need treatment for thumb based arthritis if you have the following symptoms:
Your consultant will examine you and ask you to demonstrate certain movements to check how well your thumb is working. You might need some additional tests:
Treatments for thumb based arthritis include:
Corticosteroid injections can be used to help relieve swelling and pain caused by thumb based arthritis. They can be performed in the clinic without image guidance or with X-ray/ultrasound guidance.
If other treatments have been unsuccessful, you may require surgery to relieve pain. Options include:
Surgery generally takes two to three months to recover.