Basal Joint Arthritis Treatment

Basal Joint Arthritis is a disease that causes inflammation and stiffness in the joints. It often affects the joint at the base of the thumb. This joint is called the carpometacarpal joint.

CMCJ arthritis occurs as a result of  wear and tear on the joint. It is more likely to occur at a younger age if you have fractured or injured your thumb. Repeated gripping, twisting, or turning objects with your hand may make symptoms worse. If you have CMCJ arthritis, you may notice pain in the lower part of the thumb associated with swelling and stiffness. You may frequently drop things due to the pain. Your doctor can diagnose CMCJ arthritis by examining your hand and by taking x-rays. If arthritis is diagnosed early, it may respond to conservative treatment.

Basal Joint Treatment Includes:

  • A thumb spica splint that you wear all the time (except when bathing) for 6 weeks. This splint prevents movement of your thumb and helps reduce the inflammation.
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medication.
  • A small injection of cortisone into the thumb joint to help reduce the inflammation.

If this treatment does not relieve the pain and stiffness, or if arthritis has destroyed the joint, your doctor may recommend surgery. The diseased joint is removed and rebuilt with a piece of tendon (graft) taken from your wrist.

The approximate recovery time for this surgery is 3 months, but that does not mean that you can’t use your hand at all for that time. It means that you will be limited in motion and strength during the healing process.

Arthritis does not have to prevent you from doing the things that you enjoy most. Successful treatment is available.