Call: 0845 437 9663

Search this site
Home   Latest News   TheOrthopodcast   Newsletter   About   Our Team   Locations   Contact us   Links  
Patient information
Our Specialist Surgeons
Affiliated specialists



In association with The Alexandra Hospital

Spire Healthcare

Spire Regency Hospital
Spire Manchester Hospital




Osteoarthritis of the Base of the Thumb

 
What is arthritis at the base of the thumb?
 
Pain from the base of the thumb is caused by osteoarthritis, usually after 40 years of age.  Previous thumb fractures, certain types of inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, and
occasionally infection are some of the cases, but most are simple wear and tear.
 
What are the symptoms of arthritis at the base of the thumb?
 
Pain at the base of the thumb, especially when performing simple activities that involve the thumb, such as removing the lid from a jar, opening a door, or using a knife or fork.
 
Clumsiness can occur when handling small objects.
 
Pain when performing simple activities or even at rest may also occur.
 
What are the treatments options?
 
1. Initial treatment includes rest, avoidance of painful activities and use of painkillers to relieve pain.
 
2. Occupational therapy and physiotherapy can help with joint protection, exercises, splints, and assistive devices, which may enable daily activities to be performed by limiting the movement at the base of the thumb.
 
3. Steroid injection into the joint at the base of the thumb can provide lasting benefit. As the joint is very small at the thumb base, the injections are performed with the help of an x-ray machine to confirm correct placement.
 
4. An operation may be necessary if other measures do not relieve discomfort. The type of surgery depends upon the condition of the joint at the base of the thumb, your age, and your functional needs. 
Most commonly at operation the trapezium bone is removed (trapeziectomy). This may be combined with insertion of a k-wire or occasionally reconstruction of the thumb ligaments. The surgeon always considers which of these options is best for the individual patient.
 
5. Joint replacement is an option but is not as reliable an operation as trapeziectomy.
 
6. A joint fusion is sometimes offered but only usually for patients who do heavy manual work. However, although it improves grip strength, compared with trapeziectomy, it does limit movement.


The Manchester Orthopaedic Group has three hand and wrist surgeons. Steve Royle , Jochen Fischer and Mohammed Waseem are established consultants. They are able to offer a range of treatments for various conditions from carpal tunnel syndrome to wrist arthritis.

© 2011 - Website by Blackbox Ecom