Department of hand surgery & Microsurgery.

Thumb Arthritis


Thumb is the most commonly used digit of our hand.Hand is a common area to be affected by wear and tear.Thumb joint is the most commonly affected.


The reason for osteoarthritis is mainly mechanical.

It is a very painful condition. Many times patients may not be able to use their affected hand as thumb is very important for hand usage.

Handedness has not been shown to influence the development of osteoarthritis of the hand . That means a right handed person uses his right thumb more than his left thumb and vice versa. But a right handed person may develop more osteoarthritis to his left thumb even though its use is less.


Doctor diagnoses the condition by listening to the patient, examining the thumb and with the help of x-ray. X ray can show reduced joint space with or without slippage of joint depending on the stage of disease.


The condition is always managed conservatively ( without surgery ). Thumb is immobilised in a splint and hand therapy is advised to the patient. Hand therapy includes ultrasound, paraffin wax, heat and deep tissue massage and activity modifications. If the patient is not feeling better, corticosteroid injection may be considered considering the patient's health status. Failure to achieve relief with all these modalities may prompt us to consider surgical management. There are very effective surgeries to treat thumb arthritis. Most common procedures are trapeziectomy and ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition ( LRTI )