Arthritis at the base of the thumb is a very common cause of disabling thumb pain that seriously impedes hand function.
The thumb is an essential part of the hand responsible for much of its normal function. It is used for most activity involving the hand so it is not surprising that wear and tear in the thumb joints occurs commonly.
CMC joint arthritis usually presents as pain in the base of the thumb when undertaking even simple tasks such as turning a key, picking up a saucepan or writing. It may also result in some deformity of the thumb and loss of mobility making it difficult to spread the thumb out to grasp a large object.
The condition is diagnosed by clinical examination and a plain x-ray of the hand which will clearly show the problem when it exists.
When the pain is troublesome enough, thumb CMC joint arthrosis is treated effectively with an interposition arthroplasty (joint replacement) which results in good mobility of the joint, restoration of power and substantial if not complete pain relief.