Thumb Arthritis – Carpometacarpal Osteoarthritis



Generally, thumb arthritis occurs in the non-dominant “holding hand”, which often holds the load while the dominant hand does the fine motor tasks.

When people have thumb arthritis they describe a “ring” of pain around the base of the thumb near the wrist.

Is thumb arthritis serious?
Thumb arthritis can be a serious and debilitating injury. The thumb makes up 60% of hand function, so any pain, swelling or instability in this area can result in the hand not being able to perform a significant amount of its abilities.

The sooner thumb instability is treated, the better the result and the less degeneration there will be in the joint.

How it occurs

Initially, the pain is only felt when doing heavy gripping or garden activities or by typing.

Thumb arthritis is caused by the muscles of the thumb overloading the ligaments in the base of the thumb. Overuse of the thumb joint causes degeneration of the joint cartilage.


We’ll assess how severe the arthritis is and how unstable the thumb is before referring you for X-rays if required.

Once assessed, thumb arthritis and thumb instability can initially be assisted with a custom thumb brace. Hand Therapists at Action Rehab are skilled at building these splints and showing you how and when to wear them.

The splint holds the carpometacarpal joint in the most comfortable position and takes the stress and pressure off the joint.

Meet Darko

Clinic Manager

arko Stojic graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Applied Sciences and a Masters in Physiotherapy Practice. Darko has gained experience working as physiotherapist across a variety of sporting settings, where he has treated athletes, cyclists and football players. He also has a keen interest in research and the application of evidenced-based practice.

Book a senior therapist consultation

Ben, our senior therapist, will offer advice on any management strategies you may need. Please note, if you request ongoing care, you will only have to pay our current rates. We do not charge Worksafe and TAC clients for any consultations.

Call 1300 76227to book an appointment or Click Here to book.

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