Can an arthritic thumb be operated on?

Can an arthritic thumb be operated on?

In use for more than 40 years, LRTI is the most commonly performed surgery for thumb arthritis. The damaged joint surfaces are removed and replaced with a cushion of tissue that keeps the bones separated. To accomplish this, surgeons remove all or part of the trapezium bone in the wrist at the base of the thumb.

What is thumb CMC osteoarthritis?

Thumb arthritis occurs when the cartilage in the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint wears away. 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.

Where is thumb CMC?

The carpometacarpal (CMC) joint forms where the ends of the metacarpal bone at the base of the thumb and the trapezium bone in the wrist meet also called the basal joint. Smooth cartilage covers the ends of the metacarpal bone and trapezium bone. The cartilage allows the bones to glide easily during motion.

What helps Basal thumb arthritis?

How is basal joint arthritis treated? Conservative treatments include icing the joint, taking anti-inflammatory medications, wearing a supportive splint, or getting cortisone injections into the joint. Surgical options include fusing the bones that make up the basal joint or reconstructing the joint.

Is Basal thumb arthritis painful?

Over time, the cartilage at the base of the thumb could break down and become inflamed, starting to show signs of a condition called basal joint arthritis: arthritis of the thumb. The condition is painful and can make everyday activities harder.

When should you have basal thumb surgery?

Chi says the ideal patient for the LRTI procedure is “someone with painful arthritis at the thumb basal joint who wants to preserve thumb motion and decrease pain.” However, he adds, “we do not recommend this for patients younger than 45 who have heavy, manual jobs. Those patients are better off with fusion surgery.”

Is basal thumb surgery painful?

You will generally have no pain, and the numbing medication usually lasts about 8 or more hours, so you will leave the surgery center with no pain.

How do you fix basal arthritis?

While there is no cure for basal joint arthritis, there are simple treatments that effectively relieve the symptoms in many individuals. These treatments, including splints, heat and cold, joint protection techniques, and gentle motion, can all be used independently following instruction by a therapist.

What can be done for arthritis in the thumbs?


  • Ice the joint for 5 to 15 minutes several times a day.
  • Take an anti-inflammatory medication, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, to help reduce inflammation and swelling.
  • Wear a supportive splint to limit the movement of your thumb, and allow the joint to rest and heal.

How do you treat basal arthritis?

Treatments include splints, education in joint protection techniques, home use of heat and cold, and in some cases, gentle exercise. For most individuals, only one or two visits are required. If pain and loss of function can not be improved by therapy, medical intervention may be required.

How long does CMC joint take to heal?

The surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis, and you will go home the same day. After surgery, your thumb will be placed in a cast for three to four weeks, followed by a plastic splint for four to six weeks. Typically, it takes between six and eight weeks to regain full movement in your thumb.

How painful is basal joint arthritis?

The pain can occur in different forms. For some people, it will be a dull, constant ache; in others it might be a sharp pain that only hits when you use the thumb, says Saakshi Khattri, MD, assistant professor of rheumatology and dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City.

Can you reverse arthritis in your thumb?

Outlook. While there is no cure for arthritis in your thumb, there are various simple treatments that can help relieve symptoms for many people. Talk with a doctor or physical therapist about which treatments might work best for you. A CRP test may be used to diagnose inflammatory autoimmune diseases.

How do you treat basal thumb arthritis?

Non-surgical Options for Thumb Arthritis For basal joint arthritis, the first line of treatment is generally anti-inflammatory medications and bracing. A brace leaves your wrist free but immobilizes the bottom of your thumb, only allowing the last joint in your thumb to move.

Is basal joint surgery worth it?

Most studies report high patient satisfaction rates and good short- and long-term pain relief after basal joint arthroplasty (1,2). Through rare, complications may include a small but permanent decrease in thumb strength or range of motion, and severe nerve pain.

How long does it take to recover from basal thumb surgery?

Three to 4 weeks after the procedure, the cast is removed and active range-of-motion therapy begins. Strengthening begins around 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. The majority of patients return to most activities by 3 months after surgery. Full recovery of normal activities may require up to 6 months.

Can basal joint arthritis be cured?

How do you fix arthritis in your thumb?

Nonsurgical Treatment

  1. Ice the joint for 5 to 15 minutes several times a day.
  2. Take an anti-inflammatory medication, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, to help reduce inflammation and swelling.
  3. Wear a supportive splint to limit the movement of your thumb, and allow the joint to rest and heal.

What is basal joint arthritis of the thumb?

Osteoarthritis, the 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.

Is it safe to squeeze a ball with basal joint arthritis?

Because gripping and pinching tend to aggravate the symptoms of basal joint arthritis, squeezing a ball and similar exercises should be avoided. Some individuals respond well to gentle motion performed in warm water to alleviate morning stiffness. Therapists provide advice about specific exercises if they are appropriate for an individual.

Can hyaluronic acid injections be used to treat basal thumb arthritis?

(It is important to note that hyaluronic acid injections are administered “off label,” which means that the FDA has not approved this treatment for use in basal thumb arthritis, and that healthcare insurance will not provide reimbursement. Hyaluronic acid injections are approved by the FDA for use in osteoarthritis of the knee.)

What happens to the cartilage in the thumb with arthritis?

With thumb arthritis, the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones deteriorates, and its smooth surface roughens. The bones then rub against each other, resulting in friction and joint damage.