Basal joint arthritis also called arthritis of the thumb, occurs when the joint at the base of your thumb develops arthritis. Arthritis is a disease which attacks or destroys a joint, causing severe pain and hindering functionality. There are many types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis, also known as "wear and tear" arthritis, affects the joint at the base of the thumb more than others. Basal joint arthritis is a degenerative disease that wears down the cartilage surrounding the joint. Cartilage is a protective covering that surrounds the ends of the bones and allows them to glide and move smoothly. Without the cartilage, the bones ends rub against each other causing both friction and damage to the bones and the joint.
Symptoms of Basal Joint Arthritis
The following are the most common symptoms of basal joint arthritis of the thumb. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Causes of Basal Joint Arthritis
In many cases, the cause of basal joint arthritis is never determined. There are certain risk factors, however, which appear to increase the chance of developing this disease:
Treatments for basal joint arthritis range from medications, cortisone injections, and activity changes to joint reconstruction surgery, if nonsurgical approaches are no longer relieving pain. Although people with sedentary jobs may be able to return to work two weeks after surgery, full recovery time can take approximately two to three months or more.