Thumb arthritis is the most common form of osteoarthritis affecting the hand. Also called basal joint arthritis, thumb arthritis occurs when the cushioning cartilage wears away from the adjoining ends of the bones that form your thumb joint (carpometacarpal joint).
Thumb arthritis usually occurs as a result of trauma or injury to the joint or wear and tear that accumulates overtime.
The most common symptom of thumb arthritis is pain at the base of the thumb. Pain occurs with forceful motions of the thumb such as gripping and turning. Eventually, you may even experience pain when not using your thumb.
Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Swelling, stiffness and tenderness at the base of your thumb
- Decreased strength when pinching or grasping objects
- Decreased range of motion
- Enlarged, bony or out-of-joint appearance of the joint at the base of your thumb
Procedural options include cortisone injections to the arthritic joint. Regenerative-type injections (such as platelet-rich plasma [PRP] or stem cell injections) can theoretically provide longer lasting pain relief and improved function by stimulating the body’s own natural healing response when conventional treatments have failed.