Arthritis In Thumb Joint: Causes And Alternative Treatments

Arthritis is inflammation of the joint. Thumb arthritis is characterized by joint pain and stiffness, which worsens with age. The treatment regimen depends upon the type of arthritis that you have developed. The chief aim of the treatment regimen is to decrease the symptoms and improve the quality of life.

Causes And Risk Factors For Thumb Arthritis

There are two chief types of arthritis — osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which can affect your thumb.

  • Osteoarthritis – is fairly common and occurs due to wear and tear damage to the cartilage of the thumb joint.
    When the cartilage gets eroded, there results bone grinding directly on bone, which causes pain, swelling and reduced mobility.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – your body’s immune mechanism attacks the joint capsule lining, and the lining gets swollen and inflamed, thus setting off pain.

Some people develop gouty arthritis; this occurs when uric acid levels in the blood are high and they form crystals which deposit in the joint and set off inflammation and pain.

Risk factors for arthritis are:

  • Family history: You are more likely to develop arthritis in case your parents have the disorder.
  • Age: The risk increases with age.
  • Gender: Women are more susceptible to develop rheumatoid arthritis, whilst men develop gouty arthritis.
  • Injury to the joint: People who have injured the thumb joint, may eventually develop arthritis in that joint.

Symptoms Of Arthritis In Thumb Joint

The most common symptoms of thumb arthritis include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Redness and heat
  • Restricted movement of the thumb

Alternative Treatments For Thumb Arthritis

  • Ginger – It is the most potent natural treatment for arthritis. Ginger has gingerols which battle inflammation and pain effectively. Make sure that you consume two glasses of ginger tea daily.
  • Creams containing menthol or capsaicin are recommended by most doctors. Rubbing the cream on the skin over the thumb interferes with the transmission of pain signals from the joint itself and thereby eases the discomfort.
  • In severe cases, you may have to take NSAIDs and analgesics. Confer with your health care provider regarding the most optimal one for you.
  • DMARDs will be prescribed for rheumatic arthritis; these decelerate or stop the immune mechanism from attacking the joint.
  • Physical therapy proffers wonderful results in arthritis of the thumb joint. Exercises improve the range of motion, get rid of stiffness and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint. Consult your health care provider as well as the physiotherapist and start regular exercises.
  • Acupuncture is advised by a host of healthcare providers. This therapy effectively reduces arthritic pains.
  • Massage provides substantial relief too. Kneading and stroking of the muscles increases the flow of blood to the affected joint, temporarily allaying the pain. However, make sure that you visit a licensed masseur. Book yourself for 10 to 12 sessions.
  • Glucosamine – Glucosamine tablets help prevent further erosion of the cartilage and thus fights of swelling and pain. Discuss with your physician and understand what dosage would be suitable for you.
  • Garlic – It is another excellent home remedy for arthritis. The herb has powerful anti-inflammatory properties which reduce inflammation and swelling and consequently the pain.
  • Yoga or Tai Chi – The slow, free-flowing, fluid, stretching movements associated with yoga and tai chi help enhance joint flexibility and range of movement significantly.