Thumb arthritis, also known as basal joint arthritis, is characterized by wear and inflammation in the thumb joints. Of the two types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common to affect the thumb. Treating thumb arthritis may begin at home using these non-invasive treatments that aim to reduce pain and inflammation.
As thumb arthritis worsens and becomes a chronic issue, it is important to consider the treatment options your physician recommends.
Treatments for Thumb Arthritis
Compression is a different treatment that could yield impressive outcomes for people with arthritis of the thumb. Compression can be used in several ways: an elastic wrap glove for people with arthritis or a splint. The pressure can provide you with extra support, help keep your hands and thumb warm, and help decrease swelling.
If you are suffering from thumb arthritis, Wearing the compression glove throughout the day or even when you are sleeping can assist in providing targeted compression, which reduces stiffness and inflammation. Many models have wide fingertips and grips to ensure that you are able to carry out everyday tasks or perform activities that cause flare-ups, even with gloves in place. Try to wear your arthritis glove for 8 hours to reap the full benefits.
2. Adaptive Equipment
Many people with arthritis of the thumb can benefit from having adaptable equipment to exert less strain on their thumbs. Everything from lifting an object requires you to utilize your thumb joint, which could create discomfort. A grasper grabber is an item of equipment designed to simplify your life. Make use of this device to reduce discomfort and allow your thumb to rest.
Other devices for adjusting thumb arthritis that many appreciate are jar openers and utensils with easy-grip handles, zipper pulls, and buttoning aids. These products must be accessible so you can benefit the most from these items.
3. Heat and Cold Therapy
A simple treatment that can aid in the initial stages of arthritis in the thumb can be cold therapy. Apply a Cold therapy pack over the top of your thumb and leave it there for 20 mins often throughout the day. The cold will help to ease your discomfort and decrease swelling. If you're finding the thumb feels stiff, switch your treatment from cold to heat therapy.
Using a Sacksythyme's Everywhere herbal heating pad will help reduce stiffness in the thumb and ease the pain associated with arthritis hands. Consider using the heating pads in the evening before going to bed and in the morning when you find your hands stiff and tight. Like a cold therapy pack, apply heat for up to 20 mins at a stretch (you can go longer, watch out for skin irritation).
4. Topical Cream
A topically applied pain relief cream is an alternative treatment option that is best when combined with other treatments. It can provide short-term relief from arthritis pain and other joint pain, particularly in those who use their hands during tasks or other activities. Rub the cream on the area that is painful for your thumb and finger, as the gel will ease the muscles while it reduces pain.
Braces and splints function similarly to limit the movement of your thumb joint, allowing it to heal and avoid further injury in your CMC joint. A wrist brace or splint is designed to immobilize your thumb and be a constant reminder to avoid movements, decrease strain, and provide joint support. The splint can be worn at times throughout the day or even overnight.
The condition causes stiffness and may limit the range of motion of the thumb joint. Exercise routines in your rehabilitation program will help improve your movements and reduce pain. If you're experiencing severe pain, you'll likely have to stop the exercise and wait for symptoms to diminish. Consult your physician or physical therapist to get advice on the right time for your exercise routine.
7. Diet Changes
A few people have found that dietary changes may help to manage arthritis symptoms. For example, foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties could help reduce swelling. They also contain antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E could help prevent the risk of joint damage in the future. The Mediterranean diet highlights both nutritious and anti-inflammatory foods--whole grains, fish, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. A Mediterranean diet will benefit not just your thumb, which is arthritic, but the rest of your body.
The over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) as well as naproxen (Aleve) can ease thumb swelling and pain. They are generally tolerated and readily available. In addition, there are many prescription medicines available for you to prescribe. Consult your physician to determine which one might be suitable for you.
Corticosteroid injections utilize a powerful steroid drug delivered directly into the joint. The injection of steroids will decrease inflammation and pain over a certain period. Although these injections are extremely effective, they will not solve your arthritis and should only be administered a specific amount of times. Your doctor will explain the benefits and potential risks of cortisone to assist you in deciding what is suitable for you.
If nonsurgical methods aren't effective in relieving discomfort, your doctor might recommend surgery. An orthopedic surgeon will examine your thumb and may take x-rays or other imaging for diagnosis. Various surgeries can help ease thumb arthritis, including bone fusion, partial reconstruction, and complete joint reconstruction. The recovery will depend on the procedure you go through and the extent of your arthritis.
Living Your Life With Thumb Arthritis
Thumb arthritis does not have to cause major changes in your life. By using simple treatments at home, such as splints, ice medications, and heat, you can ease the pain and enjoy the activities you enjoy. However, if your home remedies don't relieve your symptoms, the doctor might suggest an injection of steroids or surgery. Whatever option you choose, we hope you can find one that works best for you and your particular situation.