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Arthritis Thumb

MUSIC My name is W.P. Andrew Lee. I’m the director of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Johns Hopkins MUSIC Thumb arthritis comes from wear and tear. The basal joint of the thumb is the most flexible and versatile joint in the entire human body. It allows us to turn the thumb 360 degrees to have all the dexterity in the hand to do all the things that we can do. And that’s why it gets a lot of use and wear and tear, and typically after decades of use, the joint wears out.

It gives the patient pain, it gives swelling, there can be deformity. And the patient has more and more discomfort when they use their hand. MUSIC The most common symptom from thumb arthritis is pain and progressive pain. The patient typically starts out with some discomfort and use in their thumb or hand that progresses over a period of months or sometime even years. Eventually the pain can be disabling that precludes the patient from everyday activities, whether its in the kitchen, around the house or doing outdoor work. The most common activities that I hear from my patients that.

Result from thumb arthritis are daily simple things, such as opening a jar, opening a large doorknob, or things that don’t require a lot of strength that require the dexterity of the thumb to achieve. MUSIC A diagnosis can be made in the office by a trained hand specialist. It’s often obvious once the patient complains of the symptoms when the physician examines the hand. There can be deformity, there can be swelling in the thumb joint, and when the patient loses the thumb, it’s obviously not a normal joint that’s gliding smoothly.

Thumb Arthritis Diagnosis and Treatment QA

MUSIC I typically start out with a soft splint that the patient wears around the thumb. The fingers are completely free, but the thumb is supported. This way the patient can still use the hand freely and perform most activities, yet the thumb receives the support needed to help reduce the pain when the patient uses the hand. MUSIC If the conservative treatments do not completely relieve the patient’s symptom, surgical treatment may be considered. In such a procedure a small wrist bone is removed to help eliminate the pain from thumb arthritis.

Instead of the wrist bone, the space is then filled in with a tendon during surgery, which not only obliterates the space, but also help to suspend the joint, so the thumb can continue to function normally after reconstruction. MUSIC The patient is put into a splint for a total of six weeks, during which the thumb is completely protected and supported. The fingers are left free, however, so the patient can still perform some activities with the four fingers. After six weeks, the splint is removed, and the patient starts hand therapy.

So the thumb motion will resume and the patient will gradually use the hand again. The total duration of therapy is two to three months depending on the patient’s progress. After which the patient can gradually resume normal use of the hand. Depending on the patient’s line of work he or she can go back to work as soon as two or three days or in heavier lines of work may wait two weeks or sometimes a couple months before they’re ready to go back to work. MUSIC The surgery is effective in eliminating the pain from.

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