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3 Ways to Ease Pain from Thumb Arthritis

3 Ways to Ease Pain from Thumb Arthritis

If your thumbs are swollen and sore from your arthritis, find relief in these experts tips.

Thumbs are an essential part of your hands. Unfortunately, for many women (10 to 20 times as many as men) age 40 and older, thumb arthritis makes the basal joint at the bottom of the thumb swell and hurt, sometimes severely. This form of osteoarthritis can happen because of overuse and stress from hobbies or a job; diseases that affect cartilage, such as rheumatoid arthritis; and obesity, which triggers inflammatory reactions that can damage tissue and bone.

If you’ve got sore thumbs (they usually come in pairs):

  • You can opt for wearing a brace, using heat and ice packs, oral medications or corticosteroid injections.
  • ASU (avocado/soybean unsaponifiable) supplements sometimes work.
  • There are two surgeries: One fuses the joint, easing pain but limiting mobility. Another removes a bone from the base of the joint and reroutes a tendon to provide a cushion and stability.

Nothing guarantees you’ll regain full mobility—physical/occupational therapy is essential—but all three approaches ease constant pain and gain back function.

Medically reviewed in April 2018.

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