The thumb base joint is a marvellous joint but prone to arthritis. The CMC ( carpometacarpal ) joint allows the thumb to oppose the fingers, giving humans their unique dexterity. Arthritis causes pain, stiffness and change in shape. Pain is the main target of treatment. Pain can be minimised with omega 3/ fish/ krill oil tablets, topical anti-inflammatory gels like " Volatren Gel", oral supplements ( such as passionfruit peel extract, Tumeric/ Curcuma, Boswellia, Pycnogenol, L-Carnitine), and short bursts of anti-inflammatory tablets.
It can help to minimise loads on arthritic joints during daily tasks. Getting tools to assist with jar opening and key turning are examples. They can be found via online retailers such as the Independent Living Centre
A steroid injection either by ultrasound guidance or myself can settle a prolonged inflammatory flare.
If pain reaches an intolerable level, surgery can provide good relief.
Arthroscopy of the thumb joint can remove loose material in the joint if present.
In the younger person, a fusion or osteotomy may be appropriate for their individual circumstances.
Once advanced, with intolerable pain, a surgical partial or complete excision of the bone ( trapezium) at the thumb base relieves pain. The recovery time can be long, in the range of 3 to 6 months.