Arthritis Thumb

Arthritis can affect any moving joint in the body when the smooth surfaces inside the joint become roughened and worn. Normal, smooth joint surfaces have a healthy cap of cartilage on the end of bones and when this is worn away, the bare bone ends rub against each other causing combinations of pain, swelling, stiffness and deformity in the joint.

It is very common for the joints at the base of the thumb to become arthritic.  The pain from the arthritis causes patients to avoid activities or to grip objects only weakly.  This is highly inconvenient for patients as many simple daily activities are difficult.

Treatments for arthritis in the thumb may initially include splints or steroid injections but often these provide only temporary relief.

Where pain is significant and persistent and is significantly affecting function, it is possible to achieve long term pain relief and improvement in function with a simple day case operation called trapeziectomy.  This operation removes a small bone at the base of the thumb and takes 2-3 months to recover from.  During this time, gentle, progressive return to normal activity is encouraged.  After 3 months, 90% of patients will have little or no arthritis pain.  

I don't have the pain any more.  I can't thank you enough.......and nobody could believe the neat GP said there was nothing that could be done.  DF. East Sussex.  Only 8 weeks after trapeziectomy.

In the video, the left thumb has had trapeziectomy 3 months ago and the right thumb was treated a year previously.  Normal, pain-free function has been restored.