Phone: (586) 532-0803
45628 Schoenherr Rd.
Shelby Township, MI 48315 | View Map

Dr. Uzma Rehman


CMC and Thumb Arthritis



Arthritis is a common condition that can affect the hands and thumb, causing finger joint pain or pain in the thumb joint, stiffness, swelling and other symptoms. While most often diagnosed as a broad condition that affects the larger joints, finger arthritis or thumb arthritis can seriously affect quality of life.

The thumb is a small but strong structure that is essential in performing tasks such as turning doorknobs, opening jars or turning keys. Most movements of the thumb involve the joint connecting the wrist and the base of the thumb, known as the basal or carpometacarpal (CMC) joint. This joint is susceptible to arthritis because of its frequent use, as well as a number of other factors.

Causes of CMC and Thumb Arthritis

The specific cause of CMC and thumb arthritis is not known, but it is believed to be a combination of causes including obesity, aging, injury, stress, heredity and overuse. While cartilage usually covers the ends of the bones and allows them to move smoothly, arthritic joints have deteriorated cartilage that does not protect the bones and lets them rub against each other, causing friction and pain.

Symptoms of Thumb Arthritis

CMC and thumb arthritis causes pain in the base of the thumb when gripping, grasping or pinching an object, or when applying force.  Some people may also experience pain during sleep or while the thumb is not in use.  Other common signs of thumb arthritis include:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness
  • Decreased strength
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Boney or knobby joint appearance

Treatment of CMC Thumb Arthritis

CMC and thumb arthritis can usually be treated through conservative methods that include one or more of the following:

  • Resting or immobilizing the hands
  • Applying cold packs
  • Hand splints
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Occupational therapy and exercises
  • Thumb arthritis surgery

CMC or Thumb Arthritis Surgery

Typically non-surgical treatment is recommended for this condition, but severe cases may require surgery. Surgical options include:

  • Fusing the bones of the joint together
  • Removing a part of the joint and using a tendon or artificial substance to reconstruct it

If you are suffering from hand pain or finger joint pain, contact Dr. Rehman for a comprehensive evaluation and consultation. As with most medical conditions, early detection, awareness and a comprehensive treatment plan is the most effective way to combat the effects of conditions like arthritis.


Common Conditions


- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- CMC and Thumb Arthritis
- DeQuervain's Disease
- Dupuytrens Contracture Disease
- Fingernail Infection
- Ganglion Cysts
- Hand, Wrist or Finger Fractures
- Hand, Wrist or Finger Pain
- Tendonitis
- Tendons and Nerves
- Tennis Elbow
- Trigger Finger
- Ulnar Nerve Neuropathy


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Carpal Tunnel Treatment | Ulnar Nerve Neuropathy | Ganglions & Cysts | Hand & Forearm Fractures | Trigger Finger | CMC & Thumb Arthritis Treatment | Dupuytren's Contracture
Tendons & Nerves | Dequervain's Disease | Fingernail Injuries & Infections


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