Arthritis (Thumb)

About Thumb Arthritis

Thumb arthritis, also called basal joint arthritis, is a type of osteoarthritis caused when cartilage wears away in the joint at the base of the thumb. This form of hand arthritis can result in pain with activities that involve gripping or pinching, such as turning a key, opening a door, or snapping your fingers. Other symptoms include swelling and tenderness at the base of the thumb, loss of strength or limited motion, and an enlarged appearance or the development of a bony prominence over the joint.

This condition is usually the result of the normal aging process, and tends to affect women more than men. Prior fractures or other injuries to the joint may increase the likelihood of developing this condition. In the early stages of thumb arthritis, a number of treatments can alleviate symptoms, including oral or topical medications, physical therapy, wearing a supportive splint or brace to limit thumb movement, or steroid injections. When nonsurgical treatments are no longer effective, surgery can offer relief.

Our Specialists


Wilkens Avenue

  • Phone: (410) 235-5405
  • Fax: (410) 467-5459

The Curtis National Hand Center

  • Phone: (410) 235-5405
  • Fax: (410) 467-5459

Perry Hall

  • Phone: (410) 235-5405
  • Fax: (410) 467-5459

Bel Air

  • Phone: 410-877-8088
  • Fax: (410) 877-8083

Ellicott City

  • Phone: (410) 772-2000
  • Fax: (410) 772-2039