Category : Thumb

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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Finger Hand Thumb Trigger Finger

Video: Symptoms and Treatment for Trigger Finger

Trigger Finger is a common but debilitating condition of the hand. Its formal name is stenosing tenosynovitis and is sometimes called “trigger thumb.” Many times, the finger will lock up. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain at the base of the thumb or finger
  • Sensitivity to pressure
  • Lumps
  • Popping
  • Limited finger movement

Trigger Finger can interfere with daily activities such as cooking, playing music, typing, etc. Surgery can be an option for treating this condition, but night splints, medication, or steroid injections can also be possibilities. Watch our 5-minute video above for more information about trigger finger. You can also visit our trigger finger page.

Treatment for a hand condition varies depending on your situation. Find a hand surgeon near you to determine your best course of action.

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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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de Quervain's Tenosynovitis Hand Thumb

de Quervain’s Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment


De Quervain’s Syndrome
is a condition that can cause you to feel pain in your hand and thumb, especially when trying to grasp or twist something. It can happen to anyone, and doctors are not sure what causes it. The condition involves painful tendons on the thumb side of your wrist. This short video will explain the condition and what will happen if you  need surgery.

In de Quervain’s, the tunnel through which the tendons run becomes too narrow, causing pain. Some treatment options for this condition include:

  • Splint, which limits motion
  • Aspirin
  • Steroid injection
  • Surgery

Visit a hand surgeon to discuss the best treatment for you. Find one near you with our Find a Hand Surgeon tool. Learn more about de Quervain’s at www.HandCare.org.

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Hand Thumb Thumb Sprain

Ask a Doctor: Thumb Sprains

ask a doctor_thumb sprain

Hand surgeon Mark Yuhas, MD answers your questions about thumb sprains.

I have a painful thumb joint after an injury. Could this be a sprained thumb?

Yes. A thumb sprain refers to an injury or tear of the thumb joint ligaments. A ligament attaches to bones around a joint to keep it stable. The most common thumb ligament injury is the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL, side of thumb closest to the fingers). The radial collateral ligament (RCL, outside part of thumb) or volar plate (palm side) of the thumb may also be injured. The metacarpophalangeal joint (MCP, joint where the thumb connects to the hand) is most often involved in a thumb sprain.

How do thumb sprains usually occur?

An abnormal bending of the thumb joint typically causes a thumb sprain. The forceful bending can be from the side (classically as in holding a ski pole during a fall) or by a hyperextension (bending back) of the thumb. A fall onto an outstretched hand or a “jammed” thumb, such as during contact from a ball or during sports can result in a thumb sprain.

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Anatomy Hand Tendons Thumb

Anatomy 101: Thumb Tendons

tendons

 

Did you know that the tendons attached to your thumb run all the way up your forearm? There are four thumb tendons:

  • Abductor pollicis longus: This tendon helps you move the thumb away from the palm to form an open hand.
  • Flexor pollicis longus: This tendon helps you bend the thumb.
  • Extensor pollicis brevis: This tendon travels along the back of the thumb and helps straighten the thumb. It connects the muscle in the back of the forearm to the bone in the middle of the thumb.
  • Extensor pollicis longus:  This tendon also travels along the back of the thumb and helps straighten the thumb, but it connects the muscle in the back of the forearm to the bone at the tip of the thumb.

Learn more about anatomy of the fingers, hand, wrist, arm and shoulder at www.HandCare.org.

 

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Hand Hand Safety Ski and Snowboard Injury Thumb

Random Fact: Skiing Injuries

Close up of female skier hands  holding ski poles.Did you know? One of the most common skiing injuries is a thumb ligament tear. Learn how to avoid a ski or snowboard injury this winter at www.HandCare.org.

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Arthritis Hand Thumb Thumb Arthritis

Ask a Doctor: Thumb Arthritis

Medical physician doctor hands. Healthcare background banner.

Dr. Tamara Clancy answers your questions about thumb arthritis, also known as arthritis base of the thumb.

What is the painful bump at the base of my thumb?

This is more than likely wear-and-tear arthritis, and the bump is one of the bones (metacarpal) that becomes prominent as the joint wears out (cartilage thins).

What is the cause?

The cause is the cartilage in the joint thinning out.  Some of this is genetic (inherited).  Injury and joint laxity (being “double-jointed”) may contribute to developing this as well.  It is also more common in women.

Is there any way to know if my pain will get worse?

No — this is a problem that usually gets worse as we get older, but there is no way to predict how rapidly the pain will progress in a particular person.

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