Carpometacarpal joint arthritis (CMCJ) is arthritis at the base of the thumb, where your thumb and wrist meet. When the cartilage – the flexible tissue that covers and protects the joints – wears out, the ends of the bones rub together, causing pain and creating difficulty when moving.
Thumb arthritis can cause severe pain, swelling, and decreased strength and range of motion, making it difficult to complete simple tasks, such as turning door knobs and opening jars. Treatment for thumb arthritis generally involves a combination of medication and splints, while in severe cases, surgery may be required.
The carpal (wrist) bone and the metacarpal (lone) bone of the thumb (also called the CMC joint) are the most common places in the hand for arthritis. CMCJ arthritis can be mild or it can progress over time, and it is best to treat early with some simple measures.
Symptoms of CMCJ Arthritis
- Pain at the base of your thumb
- Pain where you pinch or grip small objects, pens or keys
- Pain or tenderness when you press on or around the joint
Arthritis in the thumb commonly occurs with ageing, although previous trauma or injury to the thumb joint can also result in thumb arthritis.
Thumb CMCJ Arthritis is generally diagnosed based upon clinical findings and radiologic imaging.
Generally, Pyrocarbon Joint Replacement Surgery offers a good solution for thumb CMCJ Arthritis. The specific design of the Pyrocardan (2 cylindrical concavities – orthogonales) reproduces the complex movements of the TMC articulation while ensuring its stability.
An incision is made over the base of the thumb and then the metacarpal base is trimmed down and smoothed over before inserting a prosthesis.
Dr Perron is happy to discuss treatment specifics upon consultation. Treatments may also differ depending on individual circumstances.
As the symptoms of thumb CMCJ arthritis begin to lessen, you may begin to use your joint as normal. However, like other forms of arthritis, it is a degenerative disease and can worsen over time prompting further treatment.