CMC THumb Osteoarthritis
Thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) joint or basal joint osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage over time.
The thumb CMC joint is a common area of arthritis due to the frequency and intensity of pressure the thumb receives with use during daily activities.
Pain and tenderness at the thumb
Pain and/or weakness while gripping or pinching
Stiffness and/or swelling at the thumb
Enlarged “bumps” at the joint of the thumb
Therapeutic exercises help to maintain function, improve joint health, and strengthen the muscles surrounding the arthritic joint.
Activity Modification by changing the technique or implementing assistive tools can reduce the stress on the arthritic joint.
Orthotics can reduce the stress exerted on the joint during activities, promote healthy movement patterns, and prevent the progression of deformity.
Avoid forceful gripping or pinching when possible
Use a light grip on tools, pens, or mouse
Use enlarged grips with tools or kitchen gadgets
Use tools or a grip that recruits larger muscle groups (i.e. caveman grip while stirring)
Place hands under objects while lifting when possible
Push objects with the shoulder or side of body instead of hands
How hand therapy can help:
Modalities and symptom management techniques to decrease pain, swelling, and stiffness
Orthotics – custom or prefabricated to provide support and pain relief
Education on body awareness and joint protection principles
Recommendations for adaptive equipment
Individualized exercise program to increase strength and improve function