Thumb arthritis


Thumb arthritis is a common condition that develops as people age and is brought on by the wear and tear of the cartilage on the ends of the bones that make up the joint at the base of the thumb (carpometacarpal joint).

People can typically perform hundreds of daily chores with their thumb by pinching, pivoting, and swiveling it. Doing simple tasks like turning the doorknobs and opening jars while having thumb arthritis may cause symptoms of severe pain, swelling, weakness and decreased range of motion. Typically, splints and medicine are used in conjunction for treatment. Surgery may be necessary for severe thumb arthritis.


The primary and most common symptom of thumb arthritis is pain. When the patient hold, squeeze, or pinch anything or apply force by using your thumb, pain may develop near the base of their thumb.

Signs and symptoms of thumb arthritis may include the following:

  • Pain, stiffness, and swelling near the base of the thumb
  • Decreased grip strength
  • Decreased in range of motion movement
  • An enlarged or bony-looking joint at the base of your thumb.

It is recommended to seek medical help if the swelling, stiffness, or pain near the base of the thumb continues and is persist.


The ends of the bones in a thumb joint are covered with cartilage, which serves as a cushion and permits the bones to move smoothly against one another. The smooth surface of the cartilage that covers the tips of the bones in the thumb becomes more uneven due to arthritis. This causes friction and joint injury when the bones rub against one another.

When people get older, thumb arthritis is common. Thumb arthritis may also be brought on by previous trauma or injury to the thumb joint.

Bone spurs, which grow along the margins of the existing bone as a result of joint damage, might cause the thumb joint to become noticeably lumpy.

Risk factors

The chances of developing thumb arthritis may be affected by the following factors:

  • Age: People who are above 40 years could frequently be affected by thumb arthritis.
  • Gender: This condition more common in females than males.
  • Body weight: Obesity could lead into the development of thumb arthritis.
  • Hereditary conditions: Joint ligament laxity and malformed joints could also lead to thumb arthritis.
  • History of trauma: sprains and fractures that affect the thumb joint.
  • Other diseases: Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of thumb arthritis. Illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis can alter the structure and function of cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the CMC joint, though often to a smaller extent than other hand joints.