|| THUMB-BASE ARTHRITIS
TRAPEZIUM METACARPAL OSTEOARTHRITIS
There are three different ways of describing this very common hand arthritis!
Pain is felt on the thumb side of the wrist and hand; aching in character, sudden severe pain at times, worse during and after activity, better with rest, and in severe cases, at night.
Weakness in noticed on many tasks that include ‘thumb pinch'; often mentioned are turning taps, opening doors, and turning keys.
Swelling at the base of the thumb. Deformity of the thumb. Pain on moving the joint.
Often this will be plain to see, but there are other causes for thumb side pain which include: tendonitis, arthritis in neighbouring wrist joints, old scaphoid fracture, carpal tunnel syndrome and referred pain from higher up the limb.
Plain ‘Xrays' usually show signs of arthritis, but special views of the joint are needed to show it best, particularly in early to moderate cases. Frequently modest xray changes are associated with complete wearing down of the joint surface (when seen at surgery).
Analgesic tablets may reduce pain
Splints that reduce thumb movement can reduce pain.
Steroid injections are helpful in reducing pain for periods of weeks to months.
Surgery to remove the trapezium bone, on one side of the joint, relieves pain and is used when other methods have failed.