Imagine how frustrating it would be to try to open a jar or button a shirt without your thumb. This feeling is all too common for those with one of the most common types of hand osteoarthritis.
Hand osteoarthritis is second in prevalence only to knee arthritis in the United States. Osteoarthritis in the thumb joint nearest the palm — the carpometacarpal (CMC) or basal joint — is the type that most commonly causes patients to seek the care of a hand or orthopaedic surgeon. The CMC joint, which is between the thumb metacarpal and a small bone called the trapezium, allows the swiveling, pivoting and pinching needed to grip things in your hand.
“While men and women can get basal joint arthritis, women seem to have more joint laxity, which leads to malalignment of the joint, cartilage wear, arthritis and pain, “ Dr. Shapiro says.