Category : Arthritis

Arthritis Hand Hand Therapy Thumb Arthritis

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Surgery for Thumb Arthritis Pain

Thumb arthritis pain can be debilitating, making everyday self-care tasks intolerable. There is a surgical option when other treatments, such as injections and therapy, fail to adequately reduce pain. A carpometacarpal arthroplasty or CMC arthroplasty is a joint replacement procedure for the base of your thumb. It eliminates the grinding and pain felt from the rubbing of bone on bone after the protective cartilage has worn away, usually caused by arthritis.

Below are some commonly asked questions regarding this procedure:

Will I be in a cast?

Yes. You will likely be in a cast for 2-4 weeks. You will also use either a removable orthosis a hand therapist will custom make for you or an off-the-shelf thumb and wrist splint for a month after the cast has been removed. This will help maintain the optimum position of your thumb as you are healing and protect your new thumb joint.

What happens after my thumb has been immobilized?

Any time a joint has been immobilized, it takes time to regain your flexibility. For this surgery, the wrist and thumb are usually quite stiff. Your doctor will likely recommend you see a hand therapist to assist you with regaining the range of motion and strength safely.

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Arthritis Finger Knuckles

A Hand Surgeon’s Advice About Knuckle Cracking

from Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute

ASSH hand surgeon member Sanjeev Kakar, MD talks to Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute about knuckle cracking. Is it good for you? Does it make your knuckles big and swollen? Does it give you arthritis? Hear what he has to say in this new podcast.


Real deal or wives’ tale: Knuckle cracking can cause harm, including arthritis? In this Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute, we hear from a hand surgeon and his answer may surprise you.

Listen to the podcast.

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Arthritis Hand Osteoarthritis

Ask a Doctor: Osteoarthritis

Hand surgeon Khurram Pervaiz, MD answers your questions about osteoarthritis.

My doctor told me I have osteoarthritis. What is that?

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and involves wear and tear of the joint.  This form of arthritis is caused by inflammation, breakdown, and the eventual loss of cartilage in the joint – the cartilage wears down over time.

What causes osteoarthritis?

There are many reasons for osteoarthritis of a joint. The most common factors that lead to osteoarthritis are old age, genetics, weight and injury / trauma.

What are some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis affecting a joint can cause a variety of symptoms such as pain, stiffness (limited mobility), warmth, and swelling. There may be a grating feeling (or crepitus) with movement of the joint.

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Arthritis Hand Rheumatoid Arthritis

Random Fact – Rheumatoid Arthritis

Did you know? People in manufacturing jobs may have a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Learn more about how rheumatoid arthritis is different from other types of arthritis.

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Arthritis Hand Hand Therapy Thumb Thumb Arthritis

Ask a Therapist: Thumb Arthritis

Certified Hand Therapist Michelle McMurray, MOT, OTR/L, CHT discusses thumb arthritis, also known as basal joint arthritis.


Basal joint arthritis, or thumb arthritis, is the most common site of arthritis in the hand.  This may also be referred to as the CMC (carpometacarpal) joint.  Pain typically occurs at the base of the thumb where the hand meets the wrist.  People typically report pain and weakness with grasping or pinching activities. Most people do not realize how important this particular joint is to the function of the hand until it hurts.  The amount of force transmitted through the CMC joint holding a 1-pound object at the tip is amplified to over 13 pounds at the CMC joint.  Basic activities of daily living can require between 6 and 8 pounds of pinch at the tip of the thumb, which would be amplified more than 10 times that at the base of the thumb!  Over time, this can cause break-down of the joint with loss of cartilage (the smooth part of the joint) and inflammation.  This is sometimes a painful process.

When this occurs in the body, what options do we have to feel better?  Most people do not choose surgery as their first option, and it is often not recommended as the first option.  Initial options may include injections, splinting, medications and/or rest.  Additionally, there are modifications that can be made to our daily activities which may also help to decrease the pain.

Here are a few examples of some easy and inexpensive ways to protect your hands to decrease the stress and inflammation at your thumb:

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Arthritis Hand Joints MP Joint Arthritis

Ask a Doctor: MP Joint Arthritis

Dr. David J. Bozentka answers your questions about MP joint arthritis.

What is the MP joint?

Figure 1

The metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint is the large knuckle joint located where the fingers and thumb meet the hand (Figure 1).  The metacarpal bones lie within the palm and the phalanges lie within the digits.    The metacarpal head, or ball part of the MP joint, meets with the proximal phalanx which makes up the socket part of the joint.  The bones on each side of the joint have a cartilage surface that allows smooth gliding.  Multiple tendons cross this joint.  Flexor tendons and small additional tendons in the hand promote flexion, or bending.  The extensor tendons promote extension, or straightening, of the joint.  A collateral ligament on each side of the joint provides stability for a pinching motion.  The bones, ligaments, and tendons of the MP joint allow motion and stability for optimal hand function.

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Arthritis Hand Stiff Hands

5 Potential Causes of Stiff Hands

Stiff Hands

We use our hands for nearly everything. When stiff hands come about, it prevents us from doing daily activities that we take for granted. If a hand becomes stiff, it can be a variety of issues, some more serious than others. Here are five potential causes of stiff hands:

  1. Arthritis: There are many different types of arthritis that can affect the hands, including thumb arthritis, MP joint arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  2. Fractures: A hand fracture is a medical term for a broken hand. Even if you can still move the hand, it may be broken.
  3. Dislocations: Any upper extremity dislocation can cause hands to feel stiff.
  4. Bad sprains: A thumb sprain is an example of an injury that could cause stiffness.
  5. Tendon and muscle injuries: Extensor tendon injuries can happen due to an injury or even a cut on the hand. Flexor tendon injuries can happen from a deep cut.
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Arthritis Hand Thumb Thumb Arthritis

How to Treat Thumb Arthritis

Closeup on young housewife opening jar of pickled cucumbers

Thumb arthritis can cause you to feel pain and weakness when you try to pinch things (with your thumb and index finger) and also when you try to grasp objects. It can be painful opening jars, turning doorknobs or keys, and sometimes writing. This condition is genetic. Just like gray hair, it comes on with age; however, women tend to have thumb arthritis more often than men. With some families, it can show up at a younger age.

Like other types of arthritis, this condition is due to the thinning of cartilage, which covers our joints. Without this cartilage, the joints cannot allow the bones to move as smoothly as they normally would, which causes pain.

Because thumb arthritis is typically part of the aging process, treatment can sometimes be unnecessary. To ease the pain, the follow treatments are sometimes used:

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