Basal Joint Arthritis: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Basal Joint Arthritis: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Are you experiencing pain or stiffness in the joint at the base of your thumb? If so, you may be suffering from basal joint arthritis!

What is Basal Joint Arthritis?

Basal joint arthritis - or arthritis of the thumb - is a very common type of osteoarthritis, though many people have never heard of it. It is essentially the wearing down of the cartilage in the joint at the base of the thumb. Over time, the wearing away of this cartilage makes the joints rougher and causes grinding, worsening the joint damage as time goes by.

What Causes Basal Joint Arthritis?

Basal joint arthritis is one of the most common forms of osteoarthritis, meaning it can be caused by the wear and tear of the joint. While often times it is caused by the wearing away of the cushioning cartilage in the joint at the base of the thumb, it can also be caused by acute injury.

What Are the Symptoms of Basal Joint Arthritis?

Basal joint arthritis often initially manifests itself as pain, tenderness and stiffness in the joint at the base of the thumb. This pain can occur especially when pinching or gripping, or when applying force as you might when turning a key or a door knob.

As basal joint arthritis worsens, you may experience weakness in your hand when pinching things or trying to clasp things tightly. Everyday tasks like working buttons and zippers and holding small items will become more difficult and in some cases painful. You may also experience a restricted range of motion in your thumb or notice swelling or abnormal positioning within the joint.

What Treatment Options are Available for Basal Joint Arthritis?

There are numerous options when it comes to treating basal joint arthritis, depending in part on how serious your arthritis is. A few popular treatment options include:

Ice & Medication

Icing the affected area and taking over the counter medications to relieve the swelling and ease the pain caused by basal joint arthritis is one way to treat the symptoms. While treating basal joint arthritis this way, it's also a good idea to avoid the activities that aggravate the joint as this can contribute to worsening the condition.

Splints & Braces

Wearing a splint or brace that provides extra support to the thumb and wrist can help to reduce the pain caused by basal joint arthritis and can slow down the worsening of the condition. Keep in mind - it's a good idea to check with your doctor or physical therapist if you plan to go this route, as you'll want to make sure you have the right brace and you're wearing the brace correctly.


Surgical treatment is also an option for those with severe basal joint arthritis. There are a number of surgical procedures that can help to relieve the pain and physical challenges that accompany basal joint arthritis. Your doctor can help you to understand which surgery is right for your specific case.

It's a good idea to meet with your doctor before moving forward with any basal joint arthritis treatment option.

What Should I Do If I Think I May Have Basal Joint Arthritis?

If you're suffering from some of the symptoms of basal joint arthritis and you live in Glens Falls, Saratoga, the greater Capital District or the lower Adirondack region, make an appointment at Dr. Garcia Plastic & Hand Surgery today!

As an experienced hand specialist, Dr. Juan Garcia has received specialized training from the Connecticut Combined Hand Surgery Fellowship. He is also a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. With extensive knowledge of hand, wrist and elbow conditions and of the options available to treat them, Dr. Garcia is a valuable resource and the partner if you think you're suffering from basal joint arthritis.

Check out the top 3 reasons you should choose Dr. Garcia for help with hand and wrist conditions!

During your consultation at Garcia Plastic & Hand Surgery, you'll meet with Dr. Garcia to discuss your symptoms. He will examine your hand to help you determine what's causing the pain you're suffering from and outline the best course of action is for getting you on the road to recovery.

Schedule A Basal Joint Arthritis Consultation with Dr. Garcia

Give Garcia Plastic & Hand Surgery a call at 518-793-0475 to schedule a consultation or contact us online and we will get right back to you with the information you need to set up an appointment.

Looking for additional resources about arthritis and treatment options? Start here:

Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Hand/Wrist Arthritis Surgery and Treatment

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