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Arthritis - Pain on the base of your thumb

Arthritis - Pain on the base of your thumb

Arthritis to the base of the thumb is common with ageing as a result of wear and tear to the joint cartilage. The base of your thumb is also known as the 1st carpometacarpal (CMC) joint. Wear and tear process is more common in professionals involving repetitive hand usage, Ex: Carpenters, builders, dog groomers, electricians, carers, etc.  Trauma can also trigger the degenerative process.

Thumb arthritis can cause swelling, severe pain and reduced range of movement lead to difficult to carry out the simple tasks such as holding a small weight with hand, opening jars and any other activities involving the thumb.


  • Pain: The usual symptom is the pain at the base of the thumb, especially when pinching, or gripping an object.
  • Stiffness / reduced range of movement, swelling at the base of the thumb.
  • Poor grip strength when pinching or grasping objects.
  • In some cases a bony lump or enlargement of the joint at the base of your thumb is visible.

When do you need help?

You require health care professionals help if the pain, swelling or stiffness is persistent at the base of your thumb.

Who are at risk of developing the base of the thumb Pain?

  • Trauma to the thumb/wrist. Ex: Fractures, sprain.
  • Age: above 40years.
  • Joint ligament laxity
  • Job related (occupational) stress on the thumb joint.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause damage to the cartilage and affects CMC joint.

What can we Offer?

  • HomePhysio247 offers one stop service.
  •  Assessment to identify the reason for pain.
  • Diagnostic Ultrasound scan to confirm arthritis.
  • An appropriate treatment recommendation.Ex:  Rest, thumb splint, corticosteroid injection, also known as steroid injection or cortisone injection.  In some cases surgery may be necessary.
  • All our joint pain and soft tissue pain injections are ultrasound guided injections for accuracy and effectiveness.

Corticosteroid injection offers almost an immediate pain relief to the thumb joint.  Post injection care is discussed after an injection.