Treatment Options For Base of Thumb Arthritis
Over time, the joints in the body deteriorate, especially with constant, repetitive usage. As such, the soft tissue and cartilage that support the two bones together likewise wear down thus making the bones rub on each other leading to damage. This is called osteoarthritis and the base of the thumb is a commonplace occurrence.
Signs and symptoms of the base of thumb arthritis include the following: painful feeling at the base of the thumb; inflammation and redness at the thumb base; and a feeling of grinding at the base of the thumb.
Diagnosis may be done through history and physical examination, then an x-ray to confirm the physical exam and to determine the extent of the ailment.
There are two options for the treatment of thumb arthritis namely: conservative or non-surgical treatments and the surgical option. Surgery is only advised when the conservative treatments no longer can alleviate the pain and the discomfort interferes with daily life.
[Related article: Is Hand Arthritis Preventable?]
Before you go under the knife, so to speak, here are the non-surgical treatment options that are available for you.
To reduce pain and swelling, you can use a heat pack and/or paraffin wax to warm or heat the area. Likewise, therapeutic ultrasound can provide the deep heating needed to warm the thumb and manage inflammation and pain. Another conservative treatment is to use some items to help provide comfort and support to the thumb area such as custom splinting or compressive wraps.
In addition, you can also do some strengthening and range of motion exercises designed for thumb arthritis. These physical movements will help avoid atrophy, stiffness, and even provide joint stability.
Of course, you also need to manage how you use your hands in order not to make your thumb arthritis worse. For instance, avoid constant repetitive pinching, pulling, twisting, and forceful squeezing. Use your hands, both of them and palm up, when carrying something instead of just using your thumb or fingers. And, utilize tools and equipment that can help take the pressure off your fingers and hands.
If any of the above symptoms of base of thumb arthritis sound familiar to you, a consultation to have it examined may be a good next step.
To make an appointment, contact us today.