Basal Joint Arthritis

Erin Nance, MD -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Nance MD Hand Surgery

Erin Nance, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon & Hand and Upper Extremity Specialist located in Midtown East, New York, NY

If moving your thumb causes you unbearable pain, it may be the result of arthritis in your basal joint. This common condition can cause persistent discomfort and result in long-term joint damage. To prevent more severe thumb joint complications, schedule an appointment with Dr. Erin Nance at Nance MD Hand Surgery in Midtown East, New York. Dr. Nance can treat several arthritis-related conditions with both non-surgical and surgical treatment options. Book online or call the office directly to end chronic thumb joint pain.

Basal Joint Arthritis Q & A

What is basal joint arthritis?

Basal joint arthritis is a condition that results when your joint cartilage in the base of your thumb wears away. The condition is also known simply as thumb arthritis and is one of the most common forms of osteoarthritis in the hand.

The basal joint makes it possible for your thumb to move around and do small tasks, such as picking up objects or holding a pen. Without sufficient cartilage, the joints start to grind together with each movement, causing additional damage.

What are the symptoms of basal joint arthritis?

The first indication you may have arthritis in your thumb is pain and tenderness when you move. You may also find it difficult to grasp objects with your thumb or perform activities like snapping your fingers or turning a door handle.

As the condition progresses, you may experience persistent pain in the base of the thumb. Inflammation can also make it difficult to move your thumb as you usually would.

You may also notice increased swelling in your thumb. In some cases, your joint can shift out of alignment, and your thumb may appear deformed or bent backward.

How is basal joint arthritis diagnosed?

Dr. Nance reviews your symptoms and performs a physical exam of your thumb, checking for swelling and evaluating your pain level. If she suspects you have arthritis, Dr. Nance may order X-rays to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.

What treatment options are available for basal joint arthritis?

Initially, Dr. Nance may recommend non-surgical treatments to reduce your pain and improve your range of motion. She may use a splint to prevent movement in your joint and encourage rest. Over-the-counter pain relievers can reduce pain and inflammation, too.

If a splint isn’t enough to improve your symptoms, Dr. Nance may recommend corticosteroid injections. These injections go directly into your thumb joint to reduce inflammation and increase your comfort.

Surgical options are available to treat severe arthritis that makes it impossible to bend or move your thumb. Surgical techniques to realign the joint and fuse bones can improve your symptoms. Dr. Nance may also recommend surgery if your thumb joint has too much damage.

Stop living with chronic joint pain in your thumb by scheduling an appointment online or by phone with Dr. Nance.