The basal joint, also known as the CMC (Carpometacarpal) joint, is one of the most versatile parts of our hand: the thumb. Due to its versatility, the thumb can deteriorate quickly and develop arthritis early in life.

People who suffer from osteoarthritis typically also develop basal joint arthritis, as well as women over 40. Even with normal pinching and gripping, the thumb joint is especially prone to issues from normal use. It is not uncommon for people to only have basal joint arthritis without any other forms.

Some of the treatments for thumb arthritis include nonoperative and surgical reconstruction. Read on to learn more about both options.

Nonoperative Treatments

  • Ice: Applying cold for five- to 15 minutes to the most swollen or tender areas can help to reduce inflammation.
  • Brace or Splint: Make sure your splint or brace supports the thumb.
  • Massage
  • Cortisone Injections
  • NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Medications): Examples of these pharmaceuticals include aspirin, ibuprofen, Naprosyn, or meloxicam. Ensure you check with your pharmacist before taking new medications to reduce the chance of drug interactions.

Surgical Reconstruction

  • Total Joint Reconstruction: also known as CMC Arthroplasty or LRTI (Ligament Reconstruction Tendon Interposition) procedure.
  • Capsulodesis: meant to tighten the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint
  • Arthrodesis: Surgically fusing the MCP joint

If you or someone you know has thumb pain, contact the experts at Michigan Hand & Wrist today.

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Contact us today at or call 248-596-0412.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems:

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