Base of Thumb Arthritis

Arthritis at the base of the thumb, also known as thumb basal joint arthritis or carpometacarpal arthritis, is a common condition affecting the joint where the thumb meets the wrist. This condition can cause pain, stiffness, and a lack of strength in the thumb, making everyday tasks difficult.


Base of Thumb Arthritis may present the following signs:

  • Persistent pain at the base of the thumb
  • Swelling and stiffness in the thumb and wrist
  • Difficulty gripping or pinching items
  • Decreased strength and range of motion


Diagnosis of Base of Thumb Arthritis involves:

  • Physical Examination: The doctor will check for tenderness, swelling, and range of motion in your thumb.
  • X-rays: An X-ray may be used to confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of the arthritis.


To prevent Base of Thumb Arthritis:

  • Maintain a healthy weight to avoid putting extra strain on your joints.
  • Engage in regular hand and thumb exercises to strengthen muscles and maintain flexibility.

Base of Thumb Arthritis Treatment

Base of Thumb Arthritis can be treated by various methods:

  • Rest and Splinting: Resting the affected thumb and using splints can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can help manage pain. A doctor may also prescribe stronger medication if necessary.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections can provide temporary relief from symptoms.
  • Physiotherapy: A physiotherapist can provide exercises and stretches to improve thumb mobility and strength.
  • Surgery: If symptoms are severe and non-surgical treatments aren’t effective, surgery may be considered. Surgical options include joint fusion, joint replacement, and osteotomy where part of the bone is removed to realign the joint.

See Base of Thumb Arthritis Surgery for more information.