Thumb arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the thumb joint. It is the most common type of arthritis in the hand. Thumb arthritis can occur at any age but is more common in older adults.
There are two main types of thumb arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and is caused by wear and tear on the cartilage in the thumb joint over time.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause joint inflammation, including the thumb joint.
The symptoms of thumb arthritis can range from mild to severe, depending on the type and severity of the condition, and may significantly impact daily activities.
Common symptoms of thumb arthritis include:
- Pain and stiffness in the thumb joint, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity
- Swelling in the thumb joint
- Difficulty moving the thumb
- Decreased range of motion in the thumb
- Grinding or popping sounds when moving the thumb
10 Thumb Arthritis Treatments for Home
Treating thumb arthritis may begin at home using these non-invasive treatments that 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
1. 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 minutes, often throughout the day. The cold will help to ease your discomfort and decrease swelling. If the thumb feels stiff, switch your treatment from cold to heat therapy.
SACKSY THYME Cold Therapy Pack for Thumb Arthritis:
The Sacksy Thyme Cold Therapy Pack is perfect for thumb arthritis as it delivers cold therapy to the affected area, which helps to reduce inflammation and pain. The pack is made with high-quality materials that ensure it remains cool for an extended period, making it ideal for use at home or on the go.
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.
Sacksy Thyme Microwaveable Heating Pad for Thumb Arthritis:
Our Microwaveable Heating Pad is a fantastic product that is incredibly easy to use. It is made of high-quality materials that are safe and durable, ensuring you get the best value for your money. To use it, all you have to do is heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds and then place it directly on the affected area. The heating pad is designed to provide gentle, yet effective heat therapy, which helps to improve blood flow to the affected area, reducing inflammation, and relieving pain.
Like a cold therapy pack, apply heat for up to 20 minutes at a stretch (you can go longer; watch out for skin irritation).
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 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 grip to ensure that you can carry out everyday tasks or perform activities that cause flare-ups, even with gloves in place. Wear your arthritis glove for 8 hours to reap the full benefits.
3. 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. Use 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.
4. Topical Cream
A topically applied pain relief cream is an alternative treatment option that is best combined with other treatments. It can provide short-term relief from arthritis 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 constantly remind you 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 for 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, which 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.
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.
Preventing thumb arthritis
There is no surefire way to prevent thumb arthritis, but there are several things you can do to reduce your risk, such as:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts additional stress on your joints, including your thumb joint.
- Exercise regularly. Exercising strengthens muscles around joints, reduces joint stress.
- Wear supportive shoes and gloves. Supportive shoes and gloves can help to reduce stress on your thumb joint.
- Avoid overuse. If you experience pain in your thumb, stop the activity and rest. Continuing the activity could make the arthritis worse.
Living Your Life With Thumb Arthritis
Thumb arthritis does not have to cause major changes in your life. You can ease the pain and enjoy the activities you enjoy by using simple treatments at home, such as splints, ice medications, and heat. 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 find one that works best for you and your situation.