One of the most unique features of the human body is the opposable thumb. Our thumbs have a wide range of motion that allows us to grasp and manipulate large and small objects in our hands with dexterity and strength. This mobility makes the thumb a valuable tool, but it is also what causes the thumb joint to be prone to the wear and tear of osteoarthritis OA. Because this digit is responsible for so many daily tasks, any pain or loss of mobility in the thumb has a significant impact on daily living. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to manage thumb OA and keep doing your daily activities. With joint-protection techniques, strategies for managing pain, and stretching and strengthening exercises for thumb arthritis, you can preserve hand function.
What Is LRTI Surgery and Can It Help Treat Arthritis?
Thumb arthritis: Symptoms, causes, and treatment
Arthritis at the base of the thumb is one of the most common locations and can be very disabling. Because the strength and motion of the thumb is required for nearly every activity - whether writing, opening a jar, or buttoning a shirt - pain from this condition may impede the most basic everyday tasks. Like other forms of osteoarthritis , basal thumb arthritis develops when cartilage on the surfaces of the bones that meet at the joint wears away and the metacarpal bone begins to slip out of the joint. This loss of alignment often creates the appearance of a bump near the wrist. For reasons that remain unclear, the degree of inflammation and associated pain can fluctuate.
Arthritis in the Thumb and Exercises
Arthritis literally translated from the Latin means joint inflammation. In a normal human joint, bone ends are covered by a smooth layer of cartilage, and the joint is bathed in lubricating synovial fluid. In advanced arthritis, the cartilage layer is thin or absent.
Carpal metacarpal arthritis is arthritis at the base of the thumb joint. In a normal joint, cartilage covers the ends of each bone providing smooth and easy movement between the two surfaces. The cartilage can wear out due to daily use and occurs throughout life. It can also be injured by traumatic events.