Basal joint arthritis is most commonly experienced by women over the age of 50. They have a 10-20 times increased risk to develop this condition, although it is not exactly clear why that is.

The main symptom of basal joint arthritis is pain at the base of the thumb, especially when pinching. Other symptoms include: swelling, a gritty or grinding feeling at the base of the
thumb, and/or redness at the base of the thumb.

This condition is caused by the wearing away of the protective cartilage in this joint, otherwise commonly referred to in all places of the body as osteoarthritis. When this happens, the bones rub against one another. This causes pain and can lead to erosion of the bone and/or bone spurs.

Your doctor will likely start with non-surgical treatment options to help alleviate the pain. This may include: moist heat or paraffin wax dipping, and/or supportive devices such as compression gloves or splints. Therapeutic ultrasound can also be used for reducing inflammation. Gentle stretching and exercises guided by your hand therapist can help to increase range of motion.

You may also have to alter how you do things and use your thumb differently in order to alleviate the pain. Your surgeon or hand therapist may instruct you to avoid certain motions with your thumb that will aggravate your condition, such as pinching, pulling, twisting and squeezing, or picking up heavy objects with your fingers or avoiding putting pressure on them.

They will also guide you on hand therapy for basal joint arthritis.

Depending on how advanced your condition is, non-surgical treatments should help to alleviate the pain and reduce inflammation. However, if you are at a point where that is no longer the case, hand surgery may be recommended for you.

The goal of hand surgery for basal joint arthritis is to fix the damaged joint that is causing you pain. This may be done by replacing the joint.

Now that you know more about treatment for basal joint arthritis…
…you will be glad to know that Dr. Yospur completed a fellowship in surgery of the hand with the Division of Hand Surgery at Maricopa Integrated Health System in Phoenix and is able to help evaluate, diagnose, and treat basal joint arthritis. Contact us today.