Basal joint arthritis

Basal joint arthritis is a debilitating osteoarthritis that occurs at the base of the thumb joint. The thumb is a unique digit in the hand; it has the largest degrees of freedom and greatest utility in the manipulation of small objects. The basal joint is the first carpal-metacarpal joint very close to the wrist, which allows for the opposition of the thumb to the fingers. The surface of joint resembles a universal joint in a car. There are two smooth articulating surfaces that are responsible for nearly 180° of motion in three axial directions.

Over time, as skeletons change with age and arthritis develops, this joint is particularly susceptible to changes and loss of motion. As the surfaces of the joint become rough, ligaments weaken, and the surfaces don’t match as well. This leads to chronic inflammation and, over time, changes the stability of the joint. The forces through this small joint are quite tremendous relative to its size. With time, wear and tear on the basal joint can limit one’s ability to pinch and oppose the thumb.

Treatment of this problem is multifaceted. Preserving the integrity of the joint is paramount. Bracing and support devices often use as a first-line measure to support the joint. Anti-inflammatory therapy oral and injected are considered important adjunct therapies to reduce inflammation and halt degenerative changes when possible.

Reconstructed surgical techniques have been developed in order to reduce the friction at that joint to improve pain symptoms. He surgical techniques often involve trading grip power pain relief. We would be happy to discuss the options in your case.