Thumb Carpometacarpal (CMC) Arthritis
The thumb CMC joint is the most common joint in the wrist/hand to develop arthritis. Symptoms include pain and swelling at the base of the thumb, stiffness, and sometimes weakness with pinching, grasping, or opening jars.
Typically, the diagnosis of thumb CMC arthritis can be made in the office by your provider during a routine exam of your hand and by obtaining an xray.
- NSAIDS, voltaren gel, ice, rest
- Bracing with a splint to give support to the thumb
- Steroid injections into the thumb joint to reduce inflammation and pain. These can be performed as often as necessary, we try to space out at least 3+ months apart.
If your symptoms do not respond to the above non-operative treatments, surgery is a great option to get rid of the pain, called a CMC arthroplasty. This is a day surgery that allows you to go home the same day.
- At the time of surgery, you will go into a bulky splint for one week, to allow for swelling
- Weeks 1-6: You will go to a therapist for a custom spint and begin basic exercises—wear this custom splint at all times until the 6 week mark. Your other fingers will be free, and you can type, participate in self care, and drive.
- During weeks 6-12 you will only wear your splint during heavy lifting activities, such as moving heavy boxes