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Please note, for most thumb or hand problems you do NOT need an x-ray. Your doctor can tell what is most likely going on from talking to you about your symptoms and examining your hand.
- Arthritis of the thumb is common as you get older. Did you know that 20% of people over the age of 55 have arthritis of the thumb (that’s roughly one in five people).
- You will recognise that you have it because
- you will experience pain at the base of your thumb
- this pain will have gone on for 3months or more and that it is worse with use
- you may have some morning stiffness for less than 30 minutes around the thumb
- you may notice some functional problems including difficulty with pinch grip
- you may notice that you have arthritis elsewhere – other joints are painful and stiff too
- If it gets really bad, then go and see your doctor to see what can be done. Sometimes – it could be a sign of gout or some other type of arthritis.
- Otherwise, simple paracetamol (2 tablets four times a day – and no more) and these tips might help. Don’t take paracetamol if you have liver problems or drink alcohol heavily.