Thumb Arthritis

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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.

thumb OA - advice


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