Understanding Your Treatment Options for Basilar Joint Arthritis

Basilar joint arthritis is a common type of osteoarthritis. It affects the joint located at the base of the thumb,called the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint,where it intersects with the wrist. The condition develops from wear and tear over time, when the cartilage covering the bone degenerates, causing excess bone to form. It can also develop as a result of an injury. Regardless of its cause, its leads to bone-on-bone friction and pain.

Women, particular over the age of 40, are more often afflicted by thumb arthritis than men by 10 to one, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Early Treatment for Thumb Arthritis

When the arthritic pain is mild, rest, splinting, or anti-inflammatory medication injections into the thumb base are often the recommended course of action. Heat, ice, or other topical medicines might be applied in conjunction with a steroid injection and brace. However, because arthritis is a degenerative condition, the condition will typically worsen as months and years go by.

Surgical Options for Basilar Joint Arthritis

When the pain of thumb arthritis is so severe that it impacts your quality of life, limits or alters your daily activities, is very painful, or nonsurgical methods were not successful, surgery might be indicated for relief.

The surgical gold standard for treating arthritis at the base of the thumb is carpal metacarpal arthroplasty with tendon transfer. This surgery involves the hand surgeon making two tiny incisions, one that is in the anterior forearm and one that is over the thumb joint. The hand specialist then removes the trapezium bone and transfers a tendon from your forearm. The tendon transfer does not alter any function of your hand or am. The surgery takes about 30 minutes without the use of general anesthesia.

Recovery from Thumb Arthritis Surgery

After surgery, you’ll need to apply ice and elevate your thumb joint. You’ll want to move your arm often, and keep it dry. Your thumb and wrist will be immobilized with a splint to prevent movements. Your activities will be restricted because of this temporary splint.

Depending on your recovery, you will start therapeutic exercises, while wearing your splint for protection. It will take up to three months to restore your thumb motion, and most patients can resume normal activities within six months. Some patients can resume activities earlier depending on their intensity of their strengthening exercises and the amount of weakness they had prior to surgery.

If you are in need for basal joint arthritis surgery in Fort Myers or Punta Gorda, contact Dr’s. Helgemo & Olarte at our Florida Vein Center. On average, they perform this surgery about 50 times a year. Contact us online or call (877) 892-4263.