Basal joint arthritis is also known as thumb arthritis as this condition affects the joints at the base of the thumb. It is associated with typing and other activities that involve repeated movements of the hands causing inflammation in the area. Symptoms vary between individuals but pain and swelling in the thumb is felt.

The pain tends to increase with time. As a result the thumb muscles and the other muscles in the hand may grow weak making it difficult for the hand to grip causing difficulty to carry on daily activities. Pain is felt at the base of the thumb while grasping, pinching and holding objects between the thumb and the forefingers. Pain is felt when force is applied like when turning a knob or a key.

In a normal basal joint, the cartilage acts as a cushion protecting the joint from strain and injury. When this cartilage deteriorates due to wear and tear over the years, the bones of the wrist and thumb rub against each other resulting in friction and damage to the basal joint. This is the underlying cause of basal joint arthritis. A diagnosis of basal joint arthritis can be made from the description of the symptoms. Your medical practitioner may suggest ways to reduce pressure on the joint.


* Pain in the joints of the thumb
* Stiffness and tenderness at the base of the thumb
* Less range of motion
* Enlargement of certain bones at the basal joint


This disorder arises as the result of a combination of factors like stress, weakness of muscles, aging, joint injury etc. This disorder develops between the ages of forty to sixty years and women are affected more than men.


You may be advised to splint the wrist. The splint can be worn at night or while performing activities that are likely to cause the symptoms of this disorder or aggravate the condition. Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs may be useful in some cases of basal joint arthritis, though they are not to be taken in the long term.

You can reduce pain and stiffness in the joint by improving the joint movement. You can do this by minimizing activities that involve frequent use of the basal joint. The medical practitioner will advise you on ways to manage the pain associated with basal joint arthritis and prevent further deterioration of the ligaments and tendons of the basal joint.

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