Osteoarthritis can affect joints in any part of the body, including the thumb. If diagnosed early, a physician like Dr. Leah Urbanosky can help a patient with thumb osteoarthritis manage his/her symptoms. Osteoarthritis of the thumb is more prevalent among women than men and typically develops after age 40. As a degenerative disease, osteoarthritis causes cartilage, a tough but flexible tissue that covers the ends of the bones forming a joint. to gradually wear away. Thumb osteoarthritis typically occurs at the joint at the base of the thumb, also known as the basal joint or the carpometacarpal joint (CMC joint). The CMC joint is formed where the metacarpal bone of the thumb attaches to the trapezium bone of the wrist. Damage to the CMC joint of the thumb, even if cartilage damage is not immediate, can affect the movement of the thumb joint. Osteoarthritis can occur if the joint becomes misaligned following injury, or if wear and tear increases.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Previous hand injuries, especially to the thumb itself, may indicate why osteoarthritis developed in the thumb joint. Dr. Urbanosky will conduct a careful physical examination to reveal abnormal range of motion in the CMC joint, swelling, and pain or tenderness at the base of the thumb. A grinding sound as the joint is moved suggests the ends of the bones that form the joint are rubbing against each other. An X-ray or CT scan can also detect bone spurs which may be causing the pain. While pain is the primary symptom associated with thumb osteoarthritis, other symptoms include:
Dr. Leah Urbanosky recommends early diagnosis of arthritis of the thumb if possible. If diagnosed early, it can be effectively treated using these nonsurgical treatment options:
If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Leah Urbanosky, a specialist in hand conditions, please call her office at: (815) 462-3474.
Cysts & Tumors
De Quervain's Tenosynovitis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Traumatic Hand Injuries
Joint Replacement of the Hand
Mallet Finger (Baseball Finger)
Swan Neck Deformity
UCL Tear of the Thumb
Osteoarthritis of the Thumb