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How is basal joint arthritis treated?

To treat basal joint arthritis, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug can be used regularly, as long as it doesn't cause gastrointestinal (GI) or stomach problems. Examples include ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), which can be purchased in over-the-counter or prescription doses. The next step up would be occupational or hand therapy. This involves learning new ways to use your hands to avoid pain at the base of your thumb.

Additional options would be splints. These range from a soft flexible neoprene-type brace that encloses the thumb and wraps around the wrist, to a more customized rigid brace that tries to relieve force across the base of the thumb joint.

Any time a person has pain in the base of their thumb or by their wrist for more than a few days or a week, and it seems to get worse over time and with certain activities, it's best to get medical care. This can help prevent it from getting too bad too quickly.

Surgery is the last option. If all of these conservative options fail to relieve symptoms or at least get them down to a tolerable level, then surgery is an option. If it gets to the point that you're having significant pain with regular activities every day, it's time to start thinking about surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.