How Do I Know If I Have Thumb Arthritis?
Arthritis is one of the most common diagnoses that we treat. Osteoarthritsis is when the cartilage in your joints wears down over time. So osteoarthritis is typically associated with patients middle-age or older. The process is often accelerated through overuse along with many other factors. CMC arthritis, or thumb arthritis, is when osteoarthritis affects the joint at the base of the thumb. You will feel CMC arthritis where the first metacarpal, which is the longest thumb bone, interacts with the bones of the wrist. Because the thumb does about 60% of the work for the hand, this is often the first joint that develops arthritis.
Thumb Arthritis Signs
You will notice that when your thumb arthritis pain flares, you may experience difficulties with normal tasks. Some examples are difficulty opening jar lids, or having a hard time holding objects- even something like a coffee mug. You may also fumble around when you try to pick up objects, because your thumb is not working correctly. These are several symptoms that may warrant a visit to your physician.
Will Hand Therapy Help My Thumb Arthritis?
Yes! There is such thing as treatment for osteoarthritis. If your doctor has prescribed hand therapy, you’re probably wondering how therapy will help. Arthritis doesn’t go away, but therapy can help reduce your pain and also regain function.
Rest to Get Your Pain Under Control
Splinting, swelling reduction, range of motion exercises, and strengthening exercises are some of the ways we help thumb arthritis. Usually, with our arthritis patients, we encourage them to rest the thumb first, while we work on getting the pain under control.
Strengthening Exercises Once Pain is Under Control
Once the pain is better, we have our patients begin gentle exercises to increase finger and thumb strength. The number one piece of advice that we give our arthritis patients is to have an open mind. In order to keep your arthritis in control, you may have to change the way you do certain activities. Your therapist at LB Hand Therapy will help you figure out a new way for you to continue doing what you love, and manage your arthritis symptoms too.
Does Weather Affect Arthritis?
You also may notice that weather seems to affect your arthritis. While there is not much research on this topic, researchers think that this is related to barometric pressure in the air interacting with the pressure in your joints. While you notice that storms are more noticeable with arthritis, you may also notice that your joints feel more painful as the seasons change. This is also due to the change in barometric pressure. You may find that scheduling therapy appointments in the spring and the fall can help you have a pain free transition between seasons.
Were you recently diagnosed with arthritis in your thumb(s)? If so, you could be a candidate for hand therapy services at LB Hand Therapy in Maryland. Visit our Where to Begin page to become a patient. And stay tuned for our blog next week featuring Thumb Exercises for Thumb Arthritis.