Basilar Joint Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that can impact any joint in your body. Basilar joint arthritis is a form of this condition that affects the thumb joint, and it can severely inhibit your daily routine. Fortunately, various treatment options are available to help patients manage symptoms. 

What Is Basilar Joint Arthritis?

Joint Arthritis

To understand basilar joint arthritis, let’s first discuss cartilage. Cartilage is a type of firm tissue in the body that’s found between the joints. Healthy cartilage absorbs the pressure placed on all of your joints when you move, so it’s vital to the health and longevity of your joints. When cartilage becomes worn down or damaged, the joints grate against each other and are susceptible to damage.

Basilar joint arthritis (or thumb arthritis, as it’s commonly called) is a condition impacting the basal joint. This joint, located at the base of the thumb, allows your thumb to move freely. When someone has this, the cartilage in the basal joint deteriorates and no longer pads the joint.

It is a form of osteoarthritis. Especially in severe cases, this condition can be disabling and hinder your ability to complete day-to-day tasks, such as lifting, gripping, and pulling objects.

What Are the Symptoms of Basilar Joint Arthritis?

If you suffer from basilar joint arthritis, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the thumb
  • Swelling at the base of the thumb
  • A bony bump at the base of the thumb
  • Misalignment of the thumb joint
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Weakness in the thumb

How Is It Treated?

Temporary treatments include rest, hot and cold therapy, physical therapy, and the use of a splint. Your doctor may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications or a corticosteroid injection to relieve pain in the affected area.

Surgical treatment options can provide long-lasting symptom relief. The main surgical options for the treatment of this condition include:

  • The removal of a bone in the basal joint
  • The fusion of the bones in the basal joint
  • The repositioning of the bones in the basal joint
  • The removal of most of the basal joint, followed by a tendon graft

You’ll most likely be able to return home immediately after surgery, though time for recovery is required. Rest, physical therapy, and the use of a splint will likely be recommended during this recovery period to ensure that you fully regain strength and flexibility in the basal joint. 

Basilar joint arthritis can be painful and debilitating. Contact us today to speak to a member of our team about treatment.