Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


I'm 58 years old and past menopause. I thought all my aches and pain were over after menopause. Now my left thumb is starting to ache and click when I move it. Is this typical at my age?


You may be describing symptoms of joint arthritis. Various studies report different amounts of osteoarthritis (OA) in the general population. Most say it's around eight to 12 percent. A few researchers put it as high as 33 percent (one in three) among postmenopausal women.

The reason for these rates is unclear. Hormones may have a key role. Smoking and obesity have been shown as risk factors for thumb OA in women.

According to one study, work load and physical stress aren't directly linked to finger or thumb OA. More studies are needed to find the most common risk factors for each age group. This would include premenopausal and postmenopausal women and men of all ages.

Mikko M. Haara, MD, et al. Osteoarthritis in the Carpometacarpal Joint of the Thumb. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. July 2004. Vol. 86-A. No. 7. Pp. 1452-1456.

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