Health A-Z

Thumb Arthritis

Clinical Definition

Thumb arthritis is a musculoskeletal condition, which usually affects the carpometacarpal joint of the thumb. It is usually caused by osteoarthritis. It develops when the smooth cartilage, which covers the ends of the bones, becomes thinner. This causes friction between the bones, which leads to pain and possible basal joint deformity.

In Our Own Words

Many types of arthritis can affect the joints. The most common type of arthritis that affects the thumb joint is osteoarthritis. Normally the joints in the body have a buffer of cartilage between the bones, which prevents the bones from rubbing against each other during movement. Thumb arthritis can develop after years of wear and tear on the thumb joint. Overtime the cartilage wears away and the bones of the thumb run against each other.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Pain around the thumb
  • Swelling around the wrist or base of the thumb
  • Loss of strength in the thumb

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