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Thumb Arthritis Treatment

Awarding-Winning Orthopedic Services in Orange County

Degenerative thumb arthritis – also known as basal joint arthritis – is more common in women, and typically occurs sometime after 40 years of age. There is a genetic predisposition in developing this arthritis condition and additionally, any type of trauma to the thumb can predispose one to thumb arthritis. There are other conditions such as inflammatory arthritis (Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis) that can affect the base of the thumb and cause the deterioration of that joint, which may ultimately lead to thumb joint reconstruction surgery.

Symptoms of Thumb Arthritis

Activities which rely on the thumb, such as pinching, grasping or gripping, may result in hand pain at the base of the thumb, particularly in an arthritic joint. . Signs and symptoms of thumb arthritis may include swelling or stiffness at the base of the thumb. As the arthritis progresses, the pain and weakness may increase along with decreasing range of motion at the base of the thumb. As the arthritis advances even further, bone spurs may develop, resulting in an enlarged appearance at the base of the thumb.

Diagnosis of Thumb Arthritis

During a physical examination of an arthritic thumb, the hand doctor may notice grinding when maneuvering the thumb in a certain way. X-rays can be used to confirm the diagnosis.

Nonsurgical Thumb Arthritis Treatment

Treatment options for thumb arthritis is based on the severity of the symptoms. Nonoperative treatment for thumb arthritis can involve:

  • Rest and activity restriction
  • Bracing or splinting
  • Ergonomic adjustments
  • Medications (NSAIDs)
  • Avoidance of irritating activities
  • Steroid injections into the basal joint

Surgical Thumb Arthritis Treatment

When conservative treatment fails to alleviate hand pain caused from arthritis and when the patient is sufficiently symptomatic, reconstructive surgery is an option.

Find a Hand Surgeon

Our board certified, fellowship-trained hand specialists are experts at treating Thumb Arthritis. Hoag Orthopedic Institute is ranked as one of the top Orthopedic Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report in 2019-2020.


Find a hand surgeon that treats thumb arthritis.
Call us at (855) 999-4641 to make an appointment.


Find a Hand Surgeon