Phone: 817-697-4038 Fax: 877-409-3962


If you suffer from osteoarthritis or severe thumb pain, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.

What is Basal Joint Osteoarthritis?

Basal joint osteoarthritis, also known as thumb arthritis or carpometacarpal (CMC) joint arthritis, is a condition that affects the joint at the base of the thumb. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time. In basal joint osteoarthritis, the cartilage within the basal joint gradually deteriorates, leading to joint pain, stiffness, and loss of function. It is often associated with aging and repetitive use of the thumb joint over time. Other risk factors include a family history of arthritis, previous thumb injuries, and certain occupations or activities that involve repetitive thumb movements.

Indication of Basal Joint Osteoarthritis 

Patients with Basal Joint Arthritis may find it difficult to complete actions such as turning a doorknob or opening small containers. Orthopedic Hand & Wrist Specialists often treat this osteoarthritis of the thumb with a combination of splints and prescription medication. Only the most severe Basal Joint Osteoarthritis may require thumb joint replacement.

Common symptoms of basal joint osteoarthritis include:

  1. Pain: Persistent pain at the base of the thumb, particularly with activities that involve gripping or pinching.
  2. Swelling: The joint may appear swollen or feel tender to the touch.
  3. Stiffness: The thumb joint may feel stiff, making it difficult to move the thumb freely.
  4. Weakness: Weakening grip strength or difficulty performing tasks that require thumb opposition, such as opening jars or turning keys.
  5. Limited Range of Motion: The ability to fully move or extend the thumb may be reduced.
  6. Instability: The thumb may feel loose or unstable, causing a sensation of the thumb “slipping” out of place.

Treatment For Basal Joint Osteoarthritis

Treatment options for basal joint osteoarthritis aim to alleviate pain, improve thumb function, and reduce further joint damage. These may include:

  1. Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or pain relievers may help manage pain and reduce inflammation.
  2. Thumb Splinting: Wearing a splint or brace to provide support and limit thumb movement can help alleviate pain and promote healing.
  3. Hand Therapy: Exercises and stretches designed to strengthen the thumb, improve range of motion, and reduce pain can be beneficial.
  4. Injections: Corticosteroid injections into the joint can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  5. Assistive Devices: Using tools or adaptive aids to reduce thumb stress and strain during daily activities.
  6. Surgical Intervention: In severe cases that do not respond to conservative treatments, surgical options such as joint reconstruction or joint fusion may be considered.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a hand specialist or rheumatologist, for an accurate diagnosis and to discuss the most appropriate treatment plan based on the severity of the condition and individual needs. Early intervention and proper management can help individuals with basal joint osteoarthritis maintain thumb function and improve their quality of life.

If you would like to speak to an Orthopedic Hand and Wrist Specialist in North Texas, give us a call at 817-697-4038, or contact us over the web. Telemedicine appointments are also available.