Arthritis of the thumb usually occurs at the joint found at the base of the thumb, where the thumb meets the wrist. This joint, called the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint, is important when trying to grip or pinch. Thumb arthritis is more common in women than men, and increases in frequency over the age of 40 years.
A good first step in the treatment of this condition is simple painkillers and anti-inflammatory medictaion combined with a thumb / wrist splint. If this does not control the pain, the next most appropriate step is to try a cortisone injection. The injection usually provides significant and immediate relief of symptoms, but the pain is likely to return over time. Repeat injections can be provided, but if the pain continues to return and disability remains, surgery should be considered.
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