Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


I have arthritis at the base of my thumb. The pain is about a six or seven everyday on a scale from zero to 10. I don't want surgery. What are my other options?


You may not need surgery just yet. If your arthritis is at an early stage you may be able to use nonsurgical therapy. This consists of antiinflammatory drugs, steroid injections, splinting, and/or exercise.

Many times the doctor will send the patient who doesn't want surgery to a physical or occupational therapist. The therapist can teach you how to reduce your pain, protect your joint, and improve your motion.

If an operation is needed to fuse the joint or move or repair a tendon, it's better to have it done before the arthritis gets really bad. Stay in touch with your doctor as you go through treatment to find the best way to treat your problem and in the best timing.

Charles S. Day, MD, et al. Basal Joint Osteoarthritis of the Thumb: A Prospective Trial of Steroid Injection and Splinting. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. March 2004. Vol. 29A. No. 2. Pp. 247-251.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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