IT’S LONG BEEN SAID that in addition to a large brain, another critical characteristic that separates us from most other animals is our opposable thumbs. The thumb joint has a wide range of motion that makes pinching and grasping motions possible, and most other animals, save for fellow primates, lack this ability. Thumb joints have been credited with enabling us to make a variety of technologic advancements, but over the course of a life, they sustain a lot of wear and tear. “Dexterity comes at a price,” the Arthritis Foundation reports. That price is “an increased risk of osteoarthritis in the first carpometacarpal joint, where the thumb meets the trapezium bone in the wrist.”
Osteoarthritis is a disease of aging, and it’s very common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting more than 30 million adults in America. OA features inflammation of the joint that can impact its mobility and function.