Schedule Appointment

The Best Thumb Joint Pain Treatment Options

Thumb joint pain is a painful condition that can disrupt everyday activity as it is largely responsible for the flexibility and security in grasping and holding objects, accounting for about half of its total functions. It usually occurs after an injury or through joint conditions that develop as you age. 

So what are the best thumb pain joint treatment options? There are options that can be done to provide relief at home like applying ice, fastening a splint, and using a thumb brace to compress it. If there’s persistent and growing thumb joint pain even with the use of home remedies, consult a doctor to diagnose the condition and if physical therapy or surgical treatment is required to ease it. 

Rewind The Clock Both Outside And In

Regenerative therapy has helped countless patients look and feel like the person they were years before. Call us today to book your regenerative therapy consultation.

Self-Treatment Options for Sudden Thumb Joint Pain 

There are various methods to provide quick pain relief for sudden thumb joint pain. However, if the pain continues after 2 weeks, it may be due to a developing condition and will require medical treatment to directly ease it. 

1) Apply Ice

If there is redness or swelling accompanied by the pain, placing an ice pack or using a cold compress on the sore part of the thumb can help alleviate these symptoms. Do this for 20 minutes every 2 or 3 hours until the swelling and pain have disappeared. Don’t use cold compression if the thumb is feeling stiff. Should this be the case, rest the thumb and the hand and gently massage the affected area. 

2) Compression

Compression through a thumb brace, compression glove, or a bandage can help stabilize the thumb. This is particularly helpful after an injury, strain, or sprains to prevent any swelling and further pain. If the thumb has continued to swell or has developed physical abnormalities after 2 weeks since the pain has appeared, consult a doctor to diagnose its underlying condition. 

3) Splint

Some braces will come with a thumb splint that will straighten the posture of the thumb. A brace that hugs most of the hand will help pain that comes from the basal joint or the carpal-metacarpal joint in the base of the thumb as it stabilizes it. However, splints and compression will not help thumb joint pain or CMC joint pain in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome as the issue lies within the nerves in the wrist.

4) Medication

Taking over-the-counter medication and sports medicine in various forms can also provide an instant form of pain relief like Pennsaid and Flector. Arthritis creams made of camphor oil, menthol oil, and capsaicin can be used often without any harmful side effects. 

Oral medication can come in the form of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin—effective if the pain is caused by arthritis. Paracetamol can also be used if there is uncomfortable swelling present in the joint. 

Causes and Conditions for Thumb Pain

Thumb joint pain can be caused by singular events such as injury or overworking the thumb or through disorders within the joint bones of the thumb. Consult a doctor to receive a proper diagnosis of the thumb through X-ray or ultrasound so that the appropriate pain relief treatment be given. 

1) Sprain and Strain

A thumb sprain may occur with extensive thumb use or injury. Also known as a skier’s thumb, a sprain is when one of the ligaments in the joint is overextended or damaged. On the other hand, it may be strain where the tendons are damaged like a trigger finger or a trigger thumb. 

Both conditions may happen with physical trauma on the fingers or hand, repeated heavy use, pressure, or stretching of the thumbs, and various forms of arthritis. Common symptoms include swelling at the joint, tenderness in the painful area, and pain when moving the thumb or the base of the joint.

2) Basal Joint Arthritis

This is the most common condition associated with thumb joint pain. The metacarpophalangeal (CMC) joint, also called the basal joint, is made up of small bones and cartilage that make up the base of your thumb. 

Basal thumb arthritis occurs when the cartilage in the CMC joint shrinks and breaks down due to frequent heavy use, causing the connecting bones to rub against each other. CMC joint arthritis is usually caused by aging but preceding past physical trauma can increase the likelihood of it developing.  

3) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is also another common ailment that starts with thumb joint pain. Instead of the cartilage, the main area of concern is the median nerve found in the carpal tunnel in the wrist. 

If there is excessive pressure applied to the median nerve, the hand, thumb, index, and middle fingers will begin to lose strength and the ability to feel. Those at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome are those with careers that heavily involve the use of the hands and heavy wrist motions including construction work and office work.

You may be developing carpal tunnel if you also experience tingling, numbing or pain in the thumb, index, and middle finger; weak shocking sensations around the fingers; and deprivation of function in the fingers and the hand. Seek treatment immediately as carpal tunnel syndrome will only develop without any medical intervention.

4) Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of arthritis that transpires when the immune system attacks the healthy cells in the joints. This leads to harsher swelling and inflammation as the body misdirects more fluid to these joints. 

Additional symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include multiple and symmetrical joint pain and inflammation in the thumb, fingers, and wrists; tenderness in the swollen areas; stiffness and weakness in hand movements; and carpal tunnel syndrome. This ailment can be managed by a combination of lifestyle changes, medication, and surgical treatments. 

Surgical Treatments for Chronic Thumb Joint Pain

Surgical treatment or hand surgery for chronic and severe thumb joint pain depends on the area of the pain and what condition is developing in the joint. These surgical procedures remove or reposition points in the thumb joint to alleviate the pain and swelling with varied downtimes and rehabilitation periods. 

1) Ligament Reconstruction 

This surgery is perfect for thumb joint pain resulting from loose CMC joints or damaged ligaments due to injury, extensive use, or early signs of arthritis. It’s done by replacing the worn-out ligament in the thumb with those from the flexor tendon in the wrist. Patient satisfaction is high with immediate and effective pain relief results and it may ward off any disease progression in the fingers and wrist. 

However, the procedure does not target the cartilage or the bone that may also be damaged. It may also take up to a year to fully recover from the surgery with results appearing in 3 to 4 months after the surgery. Consider this treatment if you have been diagnosed in the early stages of arthritis where there’s not a lot of weariness in the cartilage and bones. 

2) Trapeziectomy 

This procedure is the most common solution for complications from thumb arthritis. Also known as ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition (LTRI), it involves removing parts or the entirety of the trapezium bone found at the base of the thumb joint in the wrist and remodeling the nearby tissues and tendons to form a cushion in its place. 

This is a well-known procedure with a high success rate for patients suffering from mild to high arthritis. The recovery period, however, involves wearing a thumb cast for the first four weeks after the surgery and it shortens the thumb.

3) Osteotomy 

An osteotomy includes physically repositioning, cutting, and reshaping the bones in the joint to rectify any deformities and relieve any pressure. The surgical treatment, along with other operations that include bone restructuring such as arthrodesis that fuses any bones, is perfect for younger patients of arthritis. 

To be specific, for patients with active careers and those with rheumatoid arthritis as it grants practical pain relief and doesn’t obstruct the opportunity for future surgical procedures should it be needed. 

When to Visit a Doctor

Generally, if the self-treatment options have not substantially lessened the pain and if the thumb joint pain persists for 2 weeks, consult a doctor immediately as it may signal a condition such as arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Other concerning symptoms include: severe or unbearable thumb joint pain or CMC joint pain; the thumb is disfigured or discolored; persistent swelling and redness; and loss of feeling or sensation in the thumb, the rest of the fingers, and the hand. These usually mean that an underlying source is a cause of the pain like an injury, infection, or a condition such as arthritis.

Contact aNu Aesthetics for Your Thumb Joint Pain Treatment

Thumb joint pain is a difficult malady to confront as it disrupts daily activities and may be a symptom of a larger medical condition. A multilayered treatment plan with self-treatments, specific medications, and surgical procedures is the best way to relieve thumb joint pain and safeguard it against its associated conditions. 

At aNu Aesthetics, our team of specialists can provide the best personal treatment that suits your needs. We offer a range of effective treatments that will alleviate the root cause of your thumb joint pain as well as increasing your overall quality of life. Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today.

Rewind The Clock Both Outside And In

Regenerative therapy has helped countless patients look and feel like the person they were years before. Call us today to book your regenerative therapy consultation.


Share This Article

Related Posts

Schedule A Consultation