Thumb Arthritis

Texas Hill Country Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

Orthopedic Surgeons & Hand and Upper Extremity located in Fredericksburg, TX & Boerne, TX

When arthritis causes the cartilage in your main thumb joint to wear down, it can cause pain every time you move your thumb. At Texas Hill Country Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, our board-certified orthopaedic surgeons are thumb arthritis specialists who offer both nonsurgical and surgical options for pain relief. Call either of the offices in Fredericksburg and Boerne, Texas, or click on the online appointment tool.

Thumb Arthritis Q & A

What is thumb arthritis?

Thumb arthritis refers to any type of arthritis within the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint, also called the basal joint, at the bottom of your thumb. 

In most cases, thumb arthritis is osteoarthritis, a wear-and-tear form of the disease in which the cartilage cushioning in your joint breaks down over time. 

Because you use your thumbs so frequently for gripping, holding objects, twisting, and other routine motions, the CMC joints tend to develop osteoarthritis frequently.

What are the signs of thumb arthritis?

The most common indicator of thumb arthritis is thumb pain, which can be particularly difficult when you bend your thumb. Other common signs of thumb arthritis include:

  • Joint swelling
  • Joint appearance change, like a big bump 
  • Restricted joint movement
  • Thumb weakness
  • Grinding sensation when you move your thumb

 

Thumb arthritis can occur at the same time as carpal tunnel syndrome, so you may also experience symptoms in the palm of your hand and wrist. Bone spurs, hard calcium deposits on your joint, can also occur with thumb arthritis. 

If your thumb arthritis progresses enough to cause any of these symptoms, it's time to meet with a doctor for a thorough assessment and treatment plan. Treating your thumb arthritis now can prevent permanent problems. 

How is thumb arthritis treated?

Thumb arthritis treatment depends on how advanced the arthritis is, whether you have other conditions like carpal tunnel or bone spurs, and the severity of your pain. 

The doctor always starts with conservative nonsurgical recommendations, such as bracing, anti-inflammatory drugs, and hand exercises. Cortisone injections can ease your inflammation and pain but won't prevent arthritis from progressing. 

To correct the structural damage to your joint, you may need surgery. The doctor can perform a variety of procedures, such as offloading pressure with a thumb osteotomy, fusing the joint bones in a thumb arthrodesis, or replacing your thumb joint with a thumb arthroplasty. 

Dr. Beicker can discuss all of the different treatment choices and then help you determine the right one for your situation. He always focuses on relieving your pain while restoring thumb strength and movement. 

Thumb arthritis is a frustrating issue, but Texas Hill Country Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can help. Call either of the offices or click on the online appointment maker to arrange your consultation.