Thumb Base Arthritis (Thumb CMC Arthritis, Basilar Thumb Arthritis)

Arthritis at the base of the thumb (basilar thumb arthritis, Thumb CMC arthritis) presents as a common source of discomfort during grasping and pinching activities. Arthritis affects the thumb carpometacarpal joint (thumb trapeziometacarpal joint). Pain may occur when performing tasks such as opening a jar, turning a screwdriver, and/or turning a knob. Initially, symptoms may be intermittent and improve quickly. In some cases, the pain may progress. Nonoperative treatment options include over-the-counter medications, thumb spica splinting, and cortisone injection. If symptoms persist despite nonoperative treatment, one surgical treatment option involves Ligament Reconstruction and Tendon Interposition (LRTI). Other options include limited arthrodesis (fusion), osteotomy, arthroscopic resection, and implant arthroplasty. These treatment options do not address pain or dysfunction that involves the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint of the thumb. Occasionally, symptoms at this joint may become more noticeable after treatment of the thumb carpometacarpal joint. Additional options to address thumb MCP symptoms vary and should be discussed with your treating physician. Evaluation and surgical management of basilar thumb arthritis involve complex decision-making and should be discussed with your treating physician. Outcomes after Hand Surgery vary and risks and benefits should be discussed in detail with your treating physician. Non-operative treatment also carries risks and benefits which should be discussed with your treating physician.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to covey, substitute or supplant any medical advice. In order to establish a treating relationship, please schedule and complete your visits with a licensed physician.

Copyright 12/9/2021 Tanay Amin, MD
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