Christopher W. Bunt offutt. How should you treat these common causes of nontraumatic thumb pain?
During a physical exam, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and look for noticeable swelling or lumps on your joints. Your doctor might hold your joint while moving your thumb, with pressure, against your wrist bone. If this movement produces a grinding sound, or causes pain or a gritty feeling, the cartilage has likely worn down, and the bones are rubbing against each other.
Back to Hand pain. There are many causes of thumb pain. You can often ease the pain yourself.
Thumb arthritis is common with aging and occurs when cartilage wears away from the ends of the bones that form the joint at the base of your thumb — also known as the carpometacarpal CMC joint. Thumb arthritis can cause severe pain, swelling, and decreased strength and range of motion, making it difficult to do simple tasks, such as turning doorknobs and opening jars. Treatment generally involves a combination of medication and splints.
Pain in your thumb can be caused by several underlying health conditions. Treatment for thumb pain will depend on the cause, but generally, pain-relieving medication or physical therapy are the go-to solutions. In some cases, consistent pain in your thumb can be an indication that you need surgery or treatment for another underlying health condition, such as arthritis.
Osteoarthritisthe most common type of arthritis, frequently affects the joint at the base of the thumb where it meets the wrist. Known as basal joint arthritis or basal thumb arthritis, this condition is more common in women than men and is associated with aging. Over time, the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones degenerates, and excess bone forms.
Osteoarthritis OA at the base of the thumb is just as common, but has not been studied as much. In fact, when Lisa Mandl, MD, MPH, a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, first started seeing patients in the clinic, she was surprised at the number of people - mostly older women - who came to her complaining of severe pain at the base of the thumb. Even though the patients had sought relief from cortisone injections, splints, physical therapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, they were still experiencing pain severe enough to wake them at night.
In neither group did the pain level decrease significantly up to the last follow-up examination at 24 weeks after completion of treatment intervention group: median? The efficacy of intra-articularly administered cortisone for treatment of arthritis of the proximal PIP or distal DIP interphalangeal joint was compared with placebo in a further double-blind, randomized trial of 60 patients with follow-up for 12 weeks There were no significant differences between the intervention group and the control group at any time up to 12 weeks after completion of treatment with regard to grip or pinch strength grip strength at 12 weeks: intervention group The groups differed significantly in movement pain at 12 weeks intervention group: visual analog scale VAS 2.
Although these therapies may not always provide long-term relief, for most people with thumb arthritis, they can effectively lessen symptoms, and surgery may not be necessary. Surgery for arthritis of the thumb is usually a treatment of last resort. The thumb is designed to give you a wide range of motion, enabling you to pinch, grip and grasp objects.