Wednesday, July 24, 2024

How To Help Thumb Arthritis

Take The Weight Off Your Thumbs

Relieve Thumb Arthritis Pain INSTANTLY with these 2 Stretches

Shimko also suggests these practical ways to take some of the burden off your hands:

  • Use an electric or battery-operated can opener.
  • Avoid repetitive activities such as using scissors or sewing.
  • Build up the handles on your kitchen utensils and gardening tools so you dont have to grip them as tightly. A popular way to do this is with foam tubing.
  • Use a speaker phone when you can for talking on the phone.
  • Use a bag or backpack, rather than carrying things in your arms, when you can.
  • Squeeze excess water from a washcloth or clothing by wrapping it around a faucet and squeezing gently, rather than wringing it out.

When To See A Doctor

Hand and wrist pain often gets better with things you can do at home.

However, youll need to visit your GP surgery if:

  • your pain isnt getting better after treatment at home for two weeks
  • the pain is getting worse
  • the pain keeps returning
  • the pain is stopping you from doing your everyday activities
  • your hands are stiff and swollen, particularly in the mornings and these feelings dont get better after half an hour
  • as well as being swollen and stiff, your hands are warm and red
  • you also feel generally unwell, especially if you have a high temperature
  • you have ongoing tingling, numbness or weakness in the hands or fingers.

Its important to get urgent medical attention, if:

  • you think youve broken a bone
  • you have extreme pain
  • any part of your hand, wrist or fingers is a funny shape or colour
  • you have lost the feeling of part or all of your hand
  • there was a snap, grinding or popping noise when you injured your hand or wrist
  • you cant move your hand, wrist or fingers properly.

If you have ongoing hand and wrist pain or a specific condition affecting the hand and wrist it could be helpful to see a hand therapist. These are healthcare professionals with expertise in treating conditions affecting the hand and wrist. Your GP, rheumatology department or orthopaedic department could refer you to one.

How Are The Hands And Wrists Structured

There are 27 small bones that make up each hand and wrist. Eight of those bones are in your wrist. Each finger has three bones, and the thumb has two. There are five bones in the palm of your hand, connecting each finger and the thumb with the wrist.

There are more than 30 muscles that control the hand and wrist. These are in your hands, wrists and forearms.

Muscles are attached to bones by tendons. These are small but very tough pieces of connective tissue. Tendons pass through a bony passage in your wrist, known as the carpal tunnel. The median nerve also passes through this tunnel.

Also Check: What Is The Treatment For Arthritis

What Is Basal Thumb Arthritis And What Causes It

Basal thumb arthritis is a condition that causes pain in the carpometacarpal joint located at the fleshy part of your thumb near your wrist. To explain, the ends of the bones in all your joints are covered with smooth cartilage. This cartilage allows bones to move easily and freely. When bones lose their cartilage cushioning, they begin to rub against each other. This causes friction that leads to joint damage.

Arthritis at the base of the thumb often is attributed to osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint condition that causes the cartilage within your CMC joint to wear away with everyday use. However, basal thumb arthritis also is caused by rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that causes joint swelling, or post-traumatic arthritis, a condition that sometimes follows a joint injury.

Basal thumb arthritis is common in women age 40 and older, but men also are affected. Prior injuries to the CMC joint or performing repetitive activities using your thumb also puts you at higher risk for basal thumb arthritis.

Osteoarthritis In The Thumb

10 Best Thumb Braces For Thumb Arthritis And Tendonitis  Reviews And ...

Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear type of arthritis that happens when your protective joint cartilage becomes damaged , you lose joint fluid and your bones start grinding against each other causing bone spurs, pain and limited joint mobility. When it happens in your thumb is is called Osteoarthritis in the Thumb.

This is the most common type of arthritis in the thumb and affects a large part of the population, particularly after you reach 40 years of age. It can happen to men or women and usually is caused by performing repetitive type movements for a long period of time. Osteoarthritis doesnt sneak up on you, but is a gradual process.

There is plenty you can do to stop arthritis in the thumb pain and even reverse osteoarthritis permanently if you treat the cause of osteoarthritis instead of just chasing symptoms. Look at the thumb arthritis treatment at the end of this article to heal your arthritis pain for good. For more information on this type of arthritis in other joints see: Osteoarthritis Treatment.

Recommended Reading: Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Swelling In Legs

Clinical Resources And Publications

  • Buhler M, Chapple CM, Stebbings S, Potiki-Bryant KA, Baxter GD. Impact of thumb base osteoarthritis a pragmatic qualitative study Arthritis Care and Research. 2019. Advanced online publication.
  • Buhler M, Chapple CM, Stebbings S, Adams J, Gwynne-Jones D, Baxter GD. Splinting for thumb carpometacarpal osteoarthritis: protocol for a feasibility randomized controlled trial Physical Therapy Reviews. 2020.
  • Is Thumb Arthritis Common

    It is more common in women, but it can affect men, too. There is a genetic predisposition that makes people more likely to develop thumb arthritis. Thumb arthritis is unbelievably common, and if we look at the X-rays of people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, 30 to 50 percent of that population can have it, Dr.

    You May Like: How To Deal With Arthritis Pain

    Surgical And Nonsurgical Treatments For Arthritis Of The Thumb

    Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and cartilage loss within the joint. There are several types of arthritis. The most common typeosteoarthritis, or wear-and-tear arthritisoccurs commonly in the joint at the base of the thumb, where the thumb meets the wrist. This joint, called the carpometacarpal joint or the basilar joint, is important when trying to grip or pinch. Thumb arthritis is more common in women than men and increases in frequency over the age of 50 years.

    Symptoms common in patients who have thumb arthritis include:

    • Pain at the base of the thumb
    • Swelling at the base of the thumb
    • Grinding sensations when moving the thumb
    • Painful and limited movement of the thumb
    • Difficulty gripping
    • Pain when opening jars, turning keys, etc.

    Most people who have arthritis in the thumb report that their symptoms are worsened by activities, particularly repetitive activities. People who work with their hands, such as manual laborers, or even people who enjoy activities such as knitting or woodworking may notice pain at the base of the thumb as they continue their activities. In fact, those who have an occupation with repetitive movements are twice as likely to develop localized osteoarthritis. Many people with this condition find themselves rubbing or massaging the base of their thumb in order to relieve the discomfort.

    Exercises That Help Relieve Arthritis In The Fingers And Hands

    EASY Thumb Exercises for Arthritis

    If someone is pain free, it is critical to keep joints in good range of motion. Simple shoulder shrugs, wrist, and finger range of motion exercises help keep joint range of motion, says physical therapist Charles J. Gulas, PT, PhD, GCS, dean of the School of Health Professions at Maryville University of St. Louis. Being pain free is the key, Gulas stresses, especially when doing exercises intended to build strength. When pain acts up, rest and pain management may be a better bet.

    Try these range-of-motion exercises to keep your hands, fingers, and thumbs flexible and to ease symptoms of arthritis in the fingers and in the hands overall:

    • Close your fist and then gradually open your hand, stretching your fingers out, then close slowly into a fist again.
    • Make circle motions with your thumb, keeping it straight.
    • Stretch your thumb away from the palm of your hand, then use it to touch each fingertip.

    Repeat these exercises 3 to 10 times daily. Stop if you feel pain in a joint or if youâre experiencing additional pain once youre done. Some people find that doing these hand exercises under warm water is helpful. If you have osteoarthritis, you may need to wear a splint, wear a compression glove, or use another type of support to help reduce wear and tear on your joints during your daily activities. Ask your doctor or a physical therapist to recommend the type of device that may help you.

    Also Check: Where Is Arthritis Hip Pain Located

    What Can I Expect When Recovering From Hand Surgery

    From surgery to complete recovery, surgical treatment for basal thumb arthritis takes about three months. After surgery, you will have to wear a thumb splint for 4-8 weeks, depending on what surgical procedure is used. Once youre done with the splint, a progressive physical therapy program helps you regain mobility and strength in your hand.

    Call 1-888-847=8823 to schedule a consultation with a Virtua hand surgeon.

    Treating And Managing Thumb Arthritis

    Once youâve been diagnosed with thumb arthritis, your doctor may suggest non-surgical treatment. This is most likely for cases of early-stage arthritis. These management techniques include:

    • Icing your joint for 5 to 15 minutes several times each day
    • Anti-inflammatory medication, like aspirin or ibuprofen
    • A supportive splint to reduce thumb movement
    • A steroid injection depending on how far along your arthritis has developedâ

    If your thumb arthritis progresses into a worse condition and the management plans arenât working, you might need surgery. There are different options that your doctor may suggest. You can talk to your doctor about which is right for you. â

    Bone fusion. Your doctor may suggest fusing the bones of your joint together. This will greatly reduce how much you can move your thumb.

    Partial joint removal. You may have to get part of your joint removed and have it rebuilt. Your doctor will do this by using a part of your tendon or an artificial option.

    You’ll want to take note of your range of movement and pain level. This will help your doctor decide the next steps in your arthritis management plan. â

    Thumb arthritis will wear down your joints more as you age. If caught early, however, you can start management plans quickly to hopefully reduce the amount of pain and limited thumb movement you experience later.

    Show Sources

    You May Like: Does Humira Treat Psoriatic Arthritis

    Treatment For Basal Joint Arthritis

    OTC pain medications are the first-line treatment for easing the pain of basal joint arthritis, but there are other options too. During activities that involve a lot of thumb movement, patients can wear a spica splint, which goes around the wrist and thumb to keep the joint stable. A physical therapist can also teach people with basal joint arthritis how to do thumb exercises to avoid aggravating the condition.

    When OTC meds arent enough, a doctor might recommend getting corticosteroid injections every few months, which ease the pain by reducing inflammation of the joint.

    Some physicians might also consider injecting hyaluronic acid, a fluid that those with osteoarthritis lose, which is thought to contribute to joint pain. The injections are FDA-approved for large joints but not the thumb, though the off-label use could provide relief for basal joint arthritis too.

    If all else fails and excruciating pain from basal joint arthritis still gets in the way of everyday life, surgery is an option. Fusing, repositioning, or removing the joint could help provide more lasting relief.

    For those looking for extra pain relief in addition to what the medicine cabinet can offer, massage, acupuncture, and wax therapy can be helpful too, says Dr. Alade. All of those things make a difference, she says.

    How Do I Know If I Have Thumb Arthritis

    Hard Plastic Thumb Brace

    The most common symptom of thumb arthritis is pain at the very base of the thumb . This is often accompanied by stiffness, weakness and/or swelling. Your symptoms may be worse after activities that use your thumb.

    You may find that even simple tasks, such as opening a jar or turning a key, become difficult. If this is the case, its time to seek medical advice.

    Your doctor will likely give you a physical examination as well as asking for your medical history. They will consider your symptoms and may also run tests, such as X-rays, before giving a diagnosis.

    These X-rays typically show bone spurs, which are a hallmark of arthritis, as well as narrowing of the joint.

    Recommended Reading: Does Dairy Cause Arthritis Pain

    Exercises To Relieve Arthritis

    The following exercises increase blood flow to cartilage, bringing it the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and prevent further breakdown. Consult your healthcare provider before starting these exercises to make sure theyre appropriate for you.

    If so, the exercises are easy to do and can ease your arthritis pain:

    The stronger your muscles are, the more weight they will be able to handle. Like other types of exercise, hand exercises won’t “work” overnight. But they should with time and repetition.

    Thumb Arthritis Treatment In Fremont California

    If you are experiencing any symptoms of thumb arthritis, contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Besh. Dr. Besh is an expert in upper extremity and hand conditions. He is fellowship-trained and has a subspecialty certificate in surgery of the hand. Your hands should be cared for by an expert with over 15 years of focused experience in orthopedic hand conditions.

    Read Also: Why Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Fatigue

    Surgery To Repair Or Replace The Joint

    For those with thumb arthritis that does not respond to other treatments, your physician may recommend surgery to repair or replace the joint. There are a number of surgical options for treating thumb arthritis . After surgery, physical therapy will usually be recommended to aid in the recovery of function.

    • Arthrodesis: This involves fusing the bones in the affected joint. This reduces pain and allows the joint to bear weight but limits its movement.
    • Trapeziectomy: This involves removing one of the bones in the thumb joint and reconstructing the surrounding ligaments and tendons.
    • Joint replacement: A third option is a joint replacement, in which the affected joint is removed and replaced with a prosthetic joint.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Thumb Arthritis

    How to tape for Thumb PAIN and ARTHRITIS

    Pain in the thumb is the most common symptom of thumb arthritis. You might feel pain when you are pinching or gripping objects, Dr. Luo says. You may also notice a little bump at the base of your thumb, he adds, explaining that this would be a bone spur, or a projection that develops along joints as a result of inflammation, including osteoarthritis.

    Other symptoms may include the following:

    • Swelling and tenderness at the base of the thumb
    • An ache after prolonged use of the thumb
    • Loss of strength when gripping or pinching with your thumb

    You May Like: Why Does Arthritis Cause Swelling

    What Are The Options For Treating My Thumb Arthritis

  • What are the options for
  • If you have had an injury to your thumb, such as a fracture or sprain, this will naturally lead to pain and limited function for a while. But, if you are having thumb pain for no reason, or if your pain doesnt go away after injury, you may have the start of arthritis.

    Mr Alistair Jepson, consultant orthopaedic specialists at Harley Street Specialist Hospital, shares his expertise.

    How Is Basal Thumb Arthritis Diagnosed

    Basal Thumb Arthritis is diagnosed with a careful history, thorough physical examination, and imaging studies. X rays with standard and stress views are employed to evaluate the joint. These views will assess joint misalignment , joint space narrowing, osteophyte formation, and the condition of the cartilage. MRI may be used to help plan for surgery if indicated.

    Don’t Miss: What Drinks Are Good For Arthritis

    Reducing Or Modifying Movement Of The Thumb

    Some with thumb arthritis may experience a reduction of symptoms by resting their thumb regularly since the use of the thumb can aggravate damage and inflammation. Your physician may recommend wearing a supportive splint to reduce motion of the thumb and allow the joint to heal. Splints may be worn just at night or during the day and night. In addition, some may benefit from using adaptive equipment that is designed for people with limited hand strength to complete everyday activities.

    How Long Does It Take To Recover From Thumb Arthritis Surgery

    Arthritis Wrist &  Thumb Therapy Compression Gloves  SUNFAYER

    The length of your recovery period depends on the type of surgery you have. Generally, though, you can expect to wear a cast for 4 to 8 weeks after thumb arthritis surgery. Your doctor may also recommend a rehabilitation program that involves physical therapy to help you regain movement and strength in the hand. Again, depending on the type of surgery you have, it may take you several months to return to normal activities.

    Also Check: What To Eat To Reduce Arthritis Pain

    What Is The Treatment For Thumb Arthritis

    There are both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available for thumb arthritis.

    Nonsurgical Treatment

    In its early stages, thumb arthritis can be treated effectively with nonsurgical treatment that may include:

    • Taking anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, to help reduce inflammation and swelling.
    • Icing the joint for 5 to 15 minutes several times a day.
    • Wearing a supportive splint during the day or overnight to limit the movement of your thumb and allow the joint to rest and heal.

    Because thumb arthritis is a progressive, degenerative disease, the condition may worsen over time, requiring cortisone injections directly into the joint.

    These injections can provide relief for several months however, they should not be repeated indefinitely.

    Surgical Treatment

    If nonsurgical treatment options do not alleviate the symptoms of thumb arthritis, then surgery is an option. Surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis, and several different procedures can be used, including minimally invasive procedures. Your hand surgeon will discuss your options for surgery with you and help select the best one for you.

    Popular Articles
    Related news