Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Painful Aching Thumb: Thumb Arthritis

Thumb arthritis, also called basal joint arthritis, occurs when the joint at your wrist and the base of your thumb (carpometacarpal joint) develop osteoarthritis. Arthritis is the breakdown of the bone and/or soft tissues surrounding joint spaces. Determining the cause of arthritis can be difficult. Several factors may contribute to the development of this common problem; a previous injury, or wear and tear of the joint. Having thumb arthritis can cause debilitating hand pain, swelling, and decreased strength and range of motion, making it difficult to do simple household tasks, such as turning doorknobs, opening jars, sewing, and grasping tools or other items.

There is no single medication or treatment which alleviates arthritis for everyone. There are treatment options which help improve your daily life by managing pain, controlling arthritis symptoms, and reducing joint damage or deformity. Treatment options available to patients may include one or a combination of exercise, splinting and /or medication. If conservative treatments do not work for you, surgery could be an option.

  • Arthodesis (fusion): Designed to eliminate pain by allowing the bones that make up the joint to grow together, or fuse, into one solid bone. This results in loss of motion but can eliminate the pain.
  • Trapeziectomy and resection arthroplasty with ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition. Involves removal of the trapezium bone in the wrist and placing a harvested iece of the patient’s tendon into the space. Over time, this may lead to shortening of the thumb.
  • Arthroplasty (joint replacement): Removal of damaged bone, which is then replaced by an artificial joint to facilitate restoration of motion, function and strength.

Dr. Spezia is a specialist on the treatment of thumb basilar arthritis. He is involved in a multicenter study with the Nugrip Prosthesis out of the Mayo clinic in conjunction with Ascension Orthopedics. Orthopedic implants of the thumb (CMC) provide patients the benefit from the implant having a similar flexibility to cortical bone. This flexibility minimizes damage to healthy bone and surrounding tissues. The superior bone and cartilage wear properties of the implant provide long lasting use and functionality with improved range of motion. This new treatment option will eliminate your pain and get you back in the swing of things.

You do not have to suffer from thumb arthritis pain any longer. Take the first step by making an appointment with Dr. Spezia at St. Peters Bone and Joint Surgery 636-441-3444 to discuss your treatment options. We look forward to hearing from you.


  1. It also has glucosamine and chondrotin in it. You can get the Greenies Joint Care and the Nutro Natural Choice at most pet specialty stores.

  2. Great Blog!! That was amazing. Your thought processing is wonderful. The way you tell the thing is awesome.