Arthritis at the base of the thumb is one of the most common locations and can be very disabling. Because the strength and motion of the thumb is required for nearly every activity - whether writing, opening a jar, or buttoning a shirt - pain from this condition may impede the most basic everyday tasks. Like other forms of osteoarthritis , basal thumb arthritis develops when cartilage on the surfaces of the bones that meet at the joint wears away and the metacarpal bone begins to slip out of the joint. This loss of alignment often creates the appearance of a bump near the wrist. For reasons that remain unclear, the degree of inflammation and associated pain can fluctuate. Arthritis in this location generally begins in patients from yrs old, often with the X-ray appearance in advance of the symptoms.
Arthritis is a condition that irritates or destroys a joint. Although there are several types of arthritis, the one that most often affects the joint at the base of the thumb the basal joint is osteoarthritis degenerative or "wear-and-tear" arthritis. Smooth cartilage covers the ends of the bones. It enables the bones to glide easily in the joint. Without it, bones rub against each other, causing friction and damage to the bones and the joint.
Imagine how frustrating it would be to try to open a jar or button a shirt without your thumb. This feeling is all too common for those with one of the most common types of hand osteoarthritis. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.
Back to Hand pain. There are many causes of thumb pain. You can often ease the pain yourself. But see a GP if the pain does not improve. Find an urgent treatment centre.