Arthritis at the base of the thumb is a common condition and steroid injection under x-ray guidance may be all that is needed.
The wear and tear usually involves the base of the thumb and other bones of the wrist. In this situation a trapeziectomy is performed, removing the arthritic bone and supporting the thumb with either a mini-tightrope implant or suspending it on a tendon sling. This procedure has a long track record of patient satisfaction and is usually a day case procedure.
Following surgery, the hand is supported in a plaster cast for up to 6 weeks, followed by a removable splint and hand therapy.
In a few cases, the wear and tear is confined to only the base of the thumb and in these instances it may be possible to replace this part with a ball and socket implant (Carpometacarpal joint Replacement). This procedure, which usually requires an overnight stay in hospital, involves an incision on the side of the hand below the thumb through which the worn out surfaces are removed and the prosthesis implanted.