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Thumb Arthritis care at Panorama Ortho

How to Treat Thumb Arthritis: What Every Woman Needs to Know

Posted on August 10, 2016

Does it hurt your hand to open a jar? Or grab your car keys? You could be suffering from thumb arthritis. Thumb arthritis happens when cartilage wears away from the joint at the base of the thumb. It can cause severe pain and swelling. It can also impact strength and range of motion.

Thumb arthritis is very common – it’s one of the top three conditions our hand specialists treat at Panorama Orthopedics. And for no clear reason, women are six times more likely than men to experience the condition. Because they are at greater risk than men, women should be aware of the condition and watch for signs of pain, especially if they are over 50 or post-menopausal.

Thumb arthritis can be caused by an injury to the base of the thumb, a fracture, or dislocation of the joint. It can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. In most cases, however, the cause of arthritis is unknown.

What are the treatment options?

If you’re experiencing discomfort in your hand or thumb, the first step is to talk to your primary care doctor. He or she can assess your pain and adjust any medication you may be on if needed. From there, your doctor may place your hand in a splint, or prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or physical therapy.

Injections and surgery

If these defenses do not work, it may be time to visit a hand specialist. This doctor may recommend a clinical steroid injection in the joint or joints that are in pain. These injections are low-risk and can provide pain relief for up to three to six months.

A final option for how to treat thumb arthritis is surgery. While there are many different surgical interventions, most involve removing the tiny bone that is causing the inflammation. People who undergo surgery often report pain relief, along with improved strength and range of motion.

Choosing the best path for you

If you’re experiencing thumb arthritis, talk to a doctor who can determine what is causing your specific pain and who will take the time to discuss your options and not rush you into surgery. If you do go forward with surgery, make sure the doctor has a well-established routine for care both before and after the operation.

For both women and men, pain is something you do not have to live with. For more information on how to treat thumb arthritis, contact us.