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Fort Worth

Wrist & Thumb Arthritis

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Fort Worth Wrist and Thumb Arthritis Treatment

Pain and inflammation of the hand and wrist can gravely affect your daily activities. One such condition known to impact the hand and wrist joints is arthritis. 

Arthritis is a chronic, long-lasting condition that affects different joints. This condition is characterized by pain and inflammation of the hard structures, such as the hands, wrists, knees, shoulder, etc. In cases of hand arthritis, an evident reduction in finger grip strength can significantly reduce the quality of life. 

Fort Worth wrist and thumb arthritis patients need not live with this painful condition, as Be Well Primary Care is here to help!

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What Exactly Is Wrist and Thumb Arthritis?

Thumb basilar joint arthritis is a condition in which the base of the thumb gets affected. It is a type of hand arthritis where the cartilage between the trapezium (wrist bone) and the first metacarpal (hand bone) degenerates. 

In most cases, osteoarthritis is the culprit for the damage, but rheumatoid arthritis can also be the cause. The prevalence of thumb basilar joint arthritis increases with age.

Wrist and thumb arthritis can be of two different types:

Osteoarthritis (OA)

It is the most common type that usually affects older adults. The prevalence increases with age because of the increasing wear and tear of the cartilage.

Rheumatoid Arthritis 

It is an auto-immune disease that also destroys the wrist and thumb joints. Patients suffer from swelling of the synovium (lining of the joint) caused by an attack of auto-antibodies.

What Are the Symptoms of Thumb Basiliar Joint Arthritis?

Patients with trapeziometacarpal arthritis present with the following symptoms:

Pain

The chronic condition can render your affected joint useless due to persistent pain of varying intensities at the base of the thumb. 

You will likely notice an increase in the intensity of discomfort during gripping activities such as opening a jar or turning a door knob.

Swelling

Swelling almost always accompanies the pain. In most cases, the joint is tender to touch, and the skin overlying the thumb base is warm.

Stiffness 

Some patients also report stiffness of the joint. The increased stiffness significantly reduces the grip strength.

Reduced Range of Motion

The discomfort due to pain and swelling eventually leads to a limited range of motion and weakness.

How Is Arthritis of the Hand and Wrist Diagnosed?

Hand and wrist arthritis diagnosis rely on a combination of the history of the patient, physical examination of the joint, and radiographic imaging. 

Your doctor will take a complete medical history and look for signs of inflammation and swelling on the thumb.

X-rays are typically sufficient in most cases; however, the doctors sometimes order a CT scan or an MRI to confirm the diagnosis.

Studies show that radiographs play an essential role in the conclusive diagnosis of the condition.

Thumb Basilar Joint Arthritis Treatment in Fort Worth, TX

Depending on your disease severity, your doctor may choose from non-surgical or surgical options. 

Non-Surgical Treatment

Non-surgical treatment modality for Fort Worth thumb arthritis patients includes:

Ice and Heat Therapy

The most effective way to reduce pain in the early stages of the condition is to ice the joint to reduce swelling. Some people might also find heat therapy more useful.

Individuals report a reduction in pain and stiffness with conservative interventions such as ice packs (cryotherapy) and moist heat therapy

Medicines

Over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics can help relieve pain in mild to moderate cases. NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, naproxen, and piroxicam are frequently used to manage arthritis pain.

Medications only provide symptomatic relief but do not halt osteoarthritis. 

Injections

Localized corticosteroid injections in the affected joint can temporarily help relieve symptoms. The treatment modality effectively improves functionality by reducing pain and inflammation.

Splints/ Braces

Thumb and wrist splints provide stability to the joints and help take the pressure off the thumb and wrist, limiting usage. According to a study, splinting is a cost-effective treatment option for basal thumb osteoarthritis.

Surgical Treatment 

Surgery is the only option in cases where non-surgical intervention is ineffective. The most commonly adopted surgical procedure for basilar thumb arthritis is the trapeziectomy.

The surgeon removes the trapezium (wrist bone) and replaces it with a tendon taken from another part of the patient’s body (forearm). The removal of the trapezium bone can be partial or complete.

Removing the wrist bone relieves the joint, resulting in the alleviation of symptoms. 

Surgeons prefer combining the trapeziectomy with ligament reconstruction surgery or with another procedure, suture-button suspensionoplasty. This procedure eliminates the requirements of Kirshner wires for ligamentous stability and allows early wrist mobilization

Studies show this modality helps improve grip strength and reduce pain in patients younger than 55. 

A study on cadavers revealed that trapeziectomy with suture button suspensionoplasty shows better results when compared with LRTI and trapeziectomy. 

For professional help, contact our team here at Be Well Primary Care, and let us discuss how we can help you manage arthritis now!

Thumb Basilar Arthritis FAQs

The following are some frequently asked questions regarding wrist and thumb arthritis:

What is the main cause of thumb basilar arthritis?

Thumb basilar arthritis arises due to cartilage breakdown (wear and tear) between the bones, i.e., trapezium and first metacarpal. 

This cartilage destruction is typically due to age changes (osteoarthritis) or an attack of auto-antibodies (rheumatoid arthritis). The disease leads to the slipping of the metacarpal bone from the wrist joint.

How to manage the condition and prevent it from aggravating?

You can adopt some simple steps and lifestyle modifications to prevent the condition from worsening. Applying ice and alternating heat to the inflammation site can help relieve pain and swelling. 

NSAIDs can also help reduce swelling and inflammation in the initial stages when the disease has not progressed. 

You may wear a custom-made thumb splint to reduce pressure from the joint. 

Eating anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger and turmeric can also alleviate symptoms of arthritis. 

If you are suffering from arthritis please contact our team here at Be Well Primary Care, and let us discuss how we can help you manage arthritis now!

Schedule Your Appointment Now

Schedule Your Appointment Today

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