BASAL JOINT ARTHRITIS
Basal joint arthritis refers to arthritis at the base of the thumb. The basal joint gives the thumb the ability to perform fine motor tasks. When the cartilage in the basal joint wears away the joint becomes rough and the bones grind over each other causing further damage to the joint.
CAUSES OF BASAL JOINT ARTHRITIS
Arthritis is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease, and more specifically refers to inflammation and stiffness in a joint. Arthritis is a disease that causes the cartilage in a joint to deteriorate slowly over time. Thumb arthritis is the most common form of osteoarthritis of the hand. Osteoarthritis is the result of normal “wear and tear” on the joint due to aging. Other causes of arthritis in the thumb include traumatic damage to the thumb joint, as well as an autoimmune disease called rheumatoid arthritis.
SYMPTOMS OF BASAL JOINT ARTHRITIS
Symptoms of basal joint arthritis include pain, tenderness, and stiffness at the base of the thumb as you grip, pinch, or clasp something between the thumb and index finger. You might also experience pain when performing small motor tasks, such as twisting a key in a lock, turning a door handle, snapping your fingers, or using scissors.
Non-surgical treatment options for arthritis affecting the hand and wrist include:
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication: can be used to treat symptoms caused by swelling in the joint
- Topical creams: are anti-inflammatory medications applied directly to the base of the thumb and are designed to reduce swelling and reduce painful symptoms associated with basal joint arthritis
- Splinting: helps to support the affected joint by reducing the stress placed on the joint by frequent use and activity. Splinting is often used in combination with joint injections
- Steroid injections: containing a combination of an anesthetic and a steroid to provide pain relief to the affected joint
- Occupational therapy: helps to improve the range of motion and restore function in the joint
- Activity modification: to limit or stop the activities causing symptoms