Symptoms of basal joint arthritis are pain, stiffness and tenderness. When you try to clasp or grip something between your thumb and index fingers you will feel tenderness and pain. Other symptoms of this health disorder are a decrease in strength and range of motion.
In addition, your thumb may look swollen and you may also develop a bony bump. It is important to note; that an improper alignment of the joint will shift from its normal position. This may also affect the joint above the base.
There are several treatment options available for basal joint arthritis. One option is self-help. For example, try to avoid clenching your hands when you carry things. Symptoms can be aggravated when you clench your hands. In addition, avoid repetitive movements such as twisting or pinching.
Medications can also help such as anti-inflammatory medication or over-the-counter pain relievers. Doctors sometimes recommend corticosteroids, if over-the-counter or anti-inflammatory medications do not provide relief.
Splint is another treatment for basal joint arthritis. A splint works well for some because it provides temporary support for your thumb and wrist. Your doctor can give you advice with the splint to ensure that you’re using it correctly.
Surgery is another option for basal joint osteoarthritis. A surgeon can fuse the bones of your joint together. This treatment option will lessen the pain; however, you will have no flexibility in your hand. This surgery option can be performed on an outpatient basis; however, it will take time for your hand to regain its strength and range of motion.
Most importantly, to find relief from pain it is important to respond to early symptoms with splinting and medications. Even though splinting and medications will provide relief from pain, basal joint arthritis will worsen over time.
To conclude, basal joint arthritis is the wearing away of cartilage in the joint base of the thumb. If there is not enough cushioning cartilage, the joints in your hand will become rough and will grind over each other when you move. This will cause joint damage. Talk with your doctor soon and find out which treatment option would best meet your individual needs.
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POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!