Arthritis affecting the base of the thumb is one of the most common painful conditions affecting the hand. This occurs when the smooth bearing surfaces of the joint become worn resulting in bone rubbing on bone, this causes pain and stiffness in the thumb and can result in difficulties doing buttons, opening jars and many other activities as well as deformity of the thumb.
In the early stages either custom made or off the shelf splints can help relieve the symptoms and steroids injections can be used to buy time and put off surgery.
The mainstay of treatment for arthritis of the base of the thumb is with a trapezectomy. In selected cases joint replacement or fusion may be offered.