Thumb arthritis (TA) is an inflammatory condition that affects the thumb joint. It can cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty in moving the thumb. It is more common in women and typically develops after the age of 40.
The exact cause of thumb arthritis is unknown, but some risk factors include advanced age, female sex, family history of arthritis, and previous injuries to the thumb.
The causes of TA can include:
Age: As people age, the cartilage in their joints can wear down, leading to arthritis.
Genetics: TA may run in families, indicating a genetic component.
Overuse: Repeated use of the thumb joint can lead to wear and tear of the joint cartilage.
Injury: Trauma to the thumb joint can damage the cartilage, leading to arthritis.
Inflammatory diseases: Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can affect the thumb joint.
Other medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as gout or lupus, can also increase the risk of developing arthritis in the thumb joint.
The symptoms of TA include pain and stiffness at the base of the thumb, especially when gripping or holding something, difficulty in moving the thumb and swelling in the thumb joint. In some cases, there may also be deformity in the joint.
Treatment for TA may include the use of over-the-counter or prescribed pain relievers, physical therapy to improve thumb mobility, and exercises to strengthen the muscles around the thumb joint. Steroid injections may also be recommended to reduce inflammation. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the thumb joint.
It is important to treat TA early to prevent joint degeneration and maintain thumb mobility. If you experience pain or difficulty moving your thumb, consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.