Thumb arthritis is common as the person ages and develops when the cartilage wears away from the ends of the bones that form the thumb joint or carpometacarpal joint.
The condition is usually common among women than men and likely to develop after 40 years of age. Thumb arthritis can be caused by previous injuries or fractures to the joint. This condition causes swelling, pain, limited range of motion and reduced strength.
Symptoms of thumb arthritis
- Decreased range of motion
- Pain when gripping or pinching such as opening a door, turning a key and snapping the fingers.
- An enlarged misaligned joint
- Swelling and tenderness at the base of the thumb
- Severe discomfort after a long period of use.
If there is persistent swelling or pain in the affected area, seek medical help immediately.
- Thumb arthritis can be caused by a previous trauma or injury to the affected area.
- Wearing off of the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones and the smooth surface becomes rough. This causes the bones to rub against one another, thus causing friction and eventually damage the joint.
- Damage to the joint will lead to the development of new bone or bone spurs along the sides of the bone which can be seen as lumps at the bottom of the thumb joint.
- Allow the affected thumb to get enough rest. Avoid any movements that triggers pain on the thumb.
- Wear a supportive splint to provide the thumb adequate support and proper posture as well as prevent unnecessary movements while sleeping at night.
- Apply a cold pack or ice pack on the affected area for at least 10 minutes at a time several times throughout the day.
- Apply a heating pad or warm compress to lessen the pain due to thumb arthritis. Another alternative is taking a hot water bath to lessen the pain.
- Consume a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in calcium content for the thumb joint and other parts of the body for strength of the joint and mobility of the affected area.
- In a bath tub filled with warm water, mix a cup of Epsom salt and soak the whole body in the mixture. Another option is by soaking the affected thumb in Epsom salt water mixture for at least 20-30 minutes at 2 times every day to lessen the pain.
- Drink fresh water in the morning with an empty stomach to relieve symptoms of arthritis. Drinking water eliminates the toxins or wastes by having smooth bowel movements.
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin to lessen the swelling and inflammation.
- Perform simple exercises for the thumb to prevent the area from stiffening. With the hand resting on the little finger, slide the thumb across the palm at least 10 times. Bend the thumb and touch the bottom of the little finger and keep the thumb joint straight. Repeat these exercises at least 10 times several times every day.