Treatments & Conditions | Hand Microsurgery in Erie, PA

Thumb Injuries & Conditions | Hand Microsurgery in Erie, PA

Hand Microsurgery has a specialized medical staff on-hand that is experienced in providing medical assistance for the upper extremities, including the thumb. The basal joint is formed by one of the wrist bones and the first of the three bones in the thumb. This joint allows the thumb to move and pinch with the fingers. Tendons connect in your wrist and forearm to the bones in your thumb. The tendons are surrounded by a protective tendon sheath which is lined with synovium and produces a fluid that allows the tendons to slide easily when you straighten your thumb. If the tendons are irritated or injured, they will become inflamed.

Basal Joint Arthritis

Arthritis causes cartilage to wear away and often affects the basal joint which is at the base of the thumb. When arthritis occurs in the basal joint, it slowly damages the joint. Basal joint arthritis is most common in women older than 40, but anyone can get it. Basal joint arthritis is often caused by wear and tear in the joint due to aging. It also might be more likely to occur if you have broken or injured your thumb previously. Repeatedly gripping, twisting, or turning objects with the thumb and fingers may make the condition worse. A few common symptoms of basal joint arthritis include:

  • Pain in the lower part of the thumb
  • Dropping of objects
  • Pain from weather changes
  • Joint swelling
  • Stiff or deformed thumb

Basal joint arthritis can often be diagnosed by examining how the thumb looks and moves. X-rays may be ordered to see how much of the joint is damaged. Based on the results, the physicians of Hand, Microsurgery and Reconstructive Orthopaedics can then work with you to plan the treatment that best fits your needs.

Sprained Thumb

A thumb sprain is an injury to the main ligament in the thumb. Ligaments are soft tissue structures that connect two bones to make a functioning, stable joint. If you tear the main ligament at the base of your thumb, your pinch and grasp ability will be weak. There may or may not be pain right away. Other symptoms include bruising, tenderness, and swelling. 

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