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thumb arthritis

Prótesis implantada por el doctor Carlos Peña

Thumb arthritis is becoming increasingly frequent due to the continuous use of video game consoles and other electronic devices that put high stress on the thumb joint.

Thumb arthritis is characterised by swelling, stiffness and tenderness at the base of the thumb. Hospital Ochoa offers effective treatments for this condition.

 

What is thumb arthritis?

Thumb arthritis (also called trapeziometacarpal arthritis or rhizarthrosis) occurs when cartilage wears away at the ends of the bones that form the joint at the base of the thumb.

It can cause severe pain, swelling, and decreased strength and range of motion. As the disorder progresses it becomes increasingly difficult to do simple tasks, such as turning doorknobs and opening jars.

There exist various treatments, including medication and splints. However, severe thumb arthritis may require surgery.

 

Causes

The most common cause of arthritis is wear and tear of a joint, which is why it most often appears in the elderly. In some people it evolves faster than in others, yet it is not known why.

Thumb arthritis in particular is most common amongst women over 50 who work long hours performing repetitive gripping movements with their hands. Oestrogen provides cartilage protection, so menopause and the lowering of hormone production increases the risk of developing this health issue.

In addition, thumb arthritis is becoming increasingly frequent due to the continuous use of video game consoles and other electronic devices that put high stress on the thumb joint.

 

Symptoms

Thumb arthritis is characterised by swelling, stiffness and tenderness at the base of the thumb. Decreased strength is often observed when using the thumb and index finger to pinch or grab objects. The thumb may also have a decreased range of motion, and the joint below the thumb may appear enlarged.

 

Surgery

Surgery is recommended when other treatments fail and the patient can barely move or twist their thumb.

A number or surgical options exist, including removing the trapezium bone in the wrist, or replacing part of the damaged joint with an artificial implant. Both of these procedures are available at Hospital Ochoa.

 

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