Thumb CMC Joint Arthritis

Thumb CMC Joint Arthritis

Thumb CMC joint arthritis is the second most common location of arthritis in the hand. It is a common condition treated by hand specialists. It can lead to pain in the thumb area on gripping and pinching activities. It can be caused by family history, overuse, injury, and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

What is thumb CMC arthritis?

The thumb CMC (or carpometacarpal) joint is also called the basal joint. It is the joint at the base of the thumb where the thumb-side of the hand meets the wrist. Thumb CMC arthritis occurs when the smooth cartilage between the 1st metacarpal and the trapezium wears down, and the bones of the joint begin to rub against each other.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of CMC arthritis?

  • Pain at the base of the thumb with pinching, twisting, gripping, or even at rest
  • Weakness of grip, causing objects in the hand to be dropped
  • Tenderness to touch at the base of the thumb
  • Grinding/Crepitus with thumb movement
  • Thumb Deformity

How do you diagnose CMC arthritis?

Thumb CMC arthritis is diagnosed after thorough history and physical exam with your orthopedic provider. X-rays will also be taken to confirm the arthritis and evaluate the severity of the arthritis.

diagnose CMC arthritis

What are Common Treatments for CMC arthritis?

  • Bracing
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Steroid or “cortisone” injections into the 1st CMC joint space can reduce inflammation and reduce and pain associated with the arthritis.
  • CBD – CBD is a natural, nonsurgical way to help treat joint pain and inflammation
  • PRP and Stem Cell injections are nonsurgical ways to treat pain and inflammation associated with thumb CMC arthritis.
  • Surgery

What are the Surgical Treatments for CMC arthritis?

Surgery for thumb CMC arthritis is called thumb CMC arthroplasty or suspensionplasty. It is a common surgery performed by hand specialists. It involves removal of the trapezium bone at the base of the thumb and transferring a tendon into the space where the bone was removed to form a cushion between the thumb and the other bones of the hand.

What to expect after surgery for 1st CMC arthritis?

Thumb CMC Arthroplasty is a very successful procedure that removes thumb pain and improves the strength of the hand. Complete recovery from surgery can take 3-6 months. Immediately after surgery, a brace or cast is needed for about 6 weeks. Afterwards, hand therapy is required to help regain range of motion and grip strength.

CMC arthritis

**Disclaimer: Treatment recommendations may vary depending on your true diagnosis. Always follow the recommendations of your orthopedic provider.

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