n Basal Joint Arthritis - AOA Orthopedic Specialists

Basal Joint Osteoarthritis


Arthritis is a condition that irritates or destroys a joint. Although there are several types of arthritis, the one that most often affects the joint at the base of the thumb (the basal joint) is osteoarthritis (degenerative or “wear-and-tear” arthritis). You may also hear it referred to as basal thumb arthritis.


Thumb osteoarthritis, thumb arthritis, thumb pain, arthritis in hand, basal joint, basal joint arthritis, basal joint osteoarthritisBased on research performed by Mayo Clinic, basal joint arthritis is the most common type of arthritis of the hand. Because hand and wrist anatomy consists of many different bones muscles, and ligaments, there are a variety of symptoms that may be indicators of basal joint osteoarthritis.

These symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Pain with activities that involve gripping or pinching, such as turning a key, opening a door, or snapping your fingers.
  • Swelling and tenderness at the base of the thumb.
  • An aching discomfort after prolonged use.
  • Loss of strength in gripping or pinching activities.
  • An enlarged, “out-of-joint” appearance.
  • Development of a bony prominence or bump over the joint.
  • Limited motion.
  • Damage to the joint can cause the formation of gangion and mucous cysts.

What is the treatment for basal joint arthritis?

You can begin with resting your joints.  If you find if difficult to rest your irritated joints, then you can wear a brace to help restrict movements.  Alternating hot and cold treatments can help with the irritation and pain, as well as the use of over the counter NSAIDs.  If these treatments fail to offer relief then you may want to see an orthopedic hand specialist.  Your orthopedic specialists will be able to prescribe more powerful anti-inflammatory medicines and even perform steroid injections into the joint if other measures fail to offer relief.  The treatment of arthritic conditions is composed of pain relief and minimizing the progression of damage to the joint.  As we live long lifespans many people find that they outlive the conservative treatments for their arthritic conditions and may consider surgical intervention for pain relief.  This however in the case of basal joint arthritis comes at the cost of the flexibility of the joint.  The small joints of the hand don’t really have many surgical options beyond the fusion of the joint.  Joint fusion renders the joint useless and unusable but will prevent the severe pain associated with end stage osteoarthrosis.


If you or someone you knew exhibits any of these symptoms, it is important to visit an orthopedic physician so your hand can be properly evaluated. If you are from the state of Texas and are looking for some Lone Star orthopedics, make an appointment with AOA Orthopedic Specialists today!

Suffering from Basal Joint Arthritis? Meet with North Texas’s premier orthopedic practice! 817-375-5200

Responsive Menu