HomeHEALTH & WELLNESSThumb Osteoarthritis: 6 Things To Do To Relieve It!

Thumb Osteoarthritis: 6 Things To Do To Relieve It!

Rhizarthrosis, better known as osteoarthritis of the thumb, affects 1.8 million people in India. If we cannot cure it, we know better and better how to soothe the pain it causes.

Arthrosis Of The Thumb: How To Relieve It?

Without curative treatments, management consists of relieving and slowing the progression of pain and promoting mobility. At home, when an inflammatory outbreak causes severe pain at rest, you can apply cold (ice cubes in a plastic bag or a pack sold in pharmacies) on the thumb.

What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Thumb Or Rhizarthrosis?

Frequently, this progressive destruction of the cartilage can go unnoticed, just as it can cause pain at the base of the thumb, stiffness (decreased mobility), and lack of strength when grasping an object between the thumb and index finger. The pain generally occurs during inflammatory flare-ups, which can last from a few days to a few months, then disappear. 

Hey happen in the morning, during the first activities (de-rusting), and at rest and can significantly affect the quality of life. The thumb can also deform after several years of evolution and take on a Z-shape. In severe cases, it becomes impossible to open a jar, hold a glass… This progressive disease affects certain families and women and is often associated with finger osteoarthritis. Sequelae of trauma or repetitive manual work can sometimes favor it.

Arthrosis Of The Thumb: How To Relieve It?

A common condition that affects the joints at the base of the thumb, causing pain and stiffness, osteoarthritis of the thumb can be relieved by applying ice to the painful area for 10 to 15 minutes. So if cold reduces pain, so does hot; so place a hot water bottle or heating pad over the painful area to reduce stiffness. If you have a sore thumb, avoid excessive strain on the affected hand, especially during activities that involve heavy use of the thumb.

In severe pain, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises will help relieve pain and improve hand and thumb strength and flexibility. On the medication side, ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce inflammation and pain associated with thumb osteoarthritis. However, could you consult a doctor before taking them? The latter will direct you to an orthosis, calming the inflammation and preventing thumb deformity. You may also discuss other treatment options with your GP, such as corticosteroid injections or surgery.

Thumb Osteoarthritis: How Is The Infiltration Treatment Performed?

If these first treatments are not enough to relieve you, the general practitioner will refer you to a rheumatologist. After confirming the diagnosis of osteoarthritis, he may suggest an infiltration at the base of the thumb. It is performed under radiological or ultrasound guidance, in the doctor’s office, most often after mild analgesia (lidocaine injection). The doctor has the choice between two products:

  1. Delayed action cortisone and hyaluronic acid, a lubricating gel. The first often gives good results, and the improvement persists for ten to twelve months.
  2. The second is effective in fewer people, but its effect may last longer. The disadvantage of hyaluronic acid in this indication: the injection is not supported by Social Security, and it takes between 100 and 300 euros.

In addition, a rheumatological spa treatment (Royat, Dax, Cambo-les-Bains, etc.) can also be of genuine interest. If these injections do not bring real and lasting relief, surgery remains, particularly the installation of a total thumb prosthesis, to replace the defective joint. The intervention, covered by health insurance, lasts forty-five minutes to an hour and is performed on an outpatient basis under locoregional anesthesia. In 95% of cases, with this articulated prosthesis, the pain disappears, and the thumb regains its function quickly. But changing the prosthesis on average every ten years will be necessary.

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