Non-Surgical and Surgical Treatments for Basilar Joint Arthritis

Are you experiencing pain at the base of your thumb, decreased strength, or reduced range of motion, particularly when you pinch, grasp, or grip an object? Do you have a visibly large, bony area of the joint located at the base of thumb? Have you noticed swelling, tenderness, or stiffness at your thumb joint? If you have experienced any of these, chances are you have what is known as Basilar Joint Arthritis, or thumb arthritis.

Unfortunately, thumb arthritis is quite coming as you age. It occurs as your cartilage begins to wear away over time at the area surrounding your thumb joint, otherwise known as carpometacarpal (CMC) joint. Fortunately, there are non-surgical and surgical treatments for this condition.

What are the treatments?

Non-surgical treatments

Here at Florida Hand Center, many of our patients respond quite well to non-surgical treatment, which includes wearing a brace following a steroid injection. The brace, or splint, helps to not only reduce your pain, but rest your thumb joint. It also helps to encourage you to apply proper positioning when performing certain tasks. The corticosteroid injection can help to reduce inflammation and your pain level.

Topical medicines, along with ice and heat are also helpful, in addition to adjusting your activities temporarily. As mentioned, these treatment methods are often successful for thumb arthritis, and surgery may not be required.

Surgical treatment

If conservative non-surgical methods fail to provide you with relief, we may recommend surgery by a hand surgeon in Florida. The surgical procedure we perform for Basilar Joint Arthritis is known as  carpal metacarpal arthroplasty with tendon transfer, and is highly considered as the gold hand surgery standard for arthritis of the thumb. In this surgery, the part of your thumb joint that is affected is removed and replaced with a tendon graft.  The surgery involves only two small incision, and is done in under an hour.

After carpal metacarpal arthroplasty with tendon transfer surgery, you can expect to wear a splint or cast over your wrist and thumb for a period of about six weeks. Once the splint is removed, you may be advised to undergo physical therapy to help you regain hand movement, strength, and range of motion.

If you are experiences symptoms of Basilar Joint Arthritis, contact us here at Florida Hand Center for an evaluation and treatment by a hand doctor.