Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


Is it common to have arthritis at the base of your thumb? I thought it was more the fingers or the wrist.


The hand is the most common part of the body for rheumatoid arthritis. The arthritis may affect just a joint or to in a finger, a few fingers, the wrist, or any combination of joints. The base of the thumb is one area that is particularly vulnerable because of its work load. The joint below your thumb has to be able to open and close, rotate somewhat, be able to grip strongly and be able to bear weight when being used for carrying. The thumb is actually the most important digit on your hand. While people can often accommodate well to the loss of a finger, losing the thumb can make it difficult since you can't grip anything any more. Marco Rizzo, MD, Steven L. Moran, MD, and Alexander Y. Shin, MD. Long-Term Outcomes of Trapeziometacarpal Arthrodesis in the Management of Trapeziometacarpal Arthritis. In Journal of Hand Surgery. January 2009. Vol. 34A. Pp. 20 to 26.

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