Arthritis Of The Thumb

Arthritis of the thumb is referred to as Osteoarthritis and is one of the most common forms of arthritis in the hands. We see many patients suffering from this condition, and because the thumb is needed so often, each day sufferers can find it extremely debilitating. After all, we use our thumb to pull on clothes, brush our hair or teeth, hold a steering wheel, write or type, pick up a cup and cutlery, open doors and more. Without the full use of the thumb, life can become quite difficult.

Those with arthritis in other joints such as the knee, elbow or hips, are more likely to suffer from arthritis of the thumb. Women are statistically six times more likely to develop this condition.


Osteoarthritis is a result of the breakdown of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. It also affects the joint, which is close to the wrist and the fleshy part of the thumb. This joint is essential for pivoting, pinching and rotating the thumb for many tasks undertaken each day.

This cushion-like cartilage inside the joint breaks down over time, and this can result in bone rubbing against the bone.


The symptoms of this condition are often crippling given that sufferers will experience decreased grip strength and range of motion, along with swelling and pain throughout the hand.


After a consultation, we will discuss the different treatment options depending on the your symptoms. There are various treatments that may work for your particular symptoms.

Initial treatments include an exercise plan, splinting the thumb and medication including steroid injections.

If a combination of these treatments fail to resolve your symptoms then surgery may be required.

Exercise plan

We will recommend an exercise plan to improve the range of motion in your thumb and help to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. These include simple stretches, which can contribute to improve range of motion and improve your arthritis symptoms.

Thumb Splint

We may recommend a thumb splint, especially at night, which will help to decrease discomfort. It may be used continuously for a set period and then only during certain activities.


If the exercises and thumb splint don’t reduce the pain and restore the range of movement, then the option of surgery will be discussed with you.

Full List of Hand & Elbow conditions

Arthritis Of The Thumb


Dupuytren's Disease

(Dupuytren’s contracture)

Hand and wrist swelling

(Finger Stiffness)

Trigger Finger

(or Thumb)

Tennis Elbow

and Golfers Elbow

Hand and wrist pain

Swelling, and Stiffness

Tendonitis syndrome

& De Quervain’s syndrome