Arthritis in base of thumb: Hi all I... - Arthritis Action

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Arthritis in base of thumb


Hi all

I developed left thumb pain that is now in the thumb joint, the base of my thumb socket and in my wrist the pain is unbelievable.... i have had this for about 8 months. About 8 week ago I woke up to a sore right thumb, now the joint at the base of the thumb is so painful.... I can’t Grip or put any pressure on them at all. I am now limited to how much I can use my hands. I’m under a hand specialist and due another telephone appointment on Saturday but all I keep getting told is I’m so young to be having this, I’m 40! I do also have osteoarthritis in my neck and lower spine as well as other medical conditions including fibromyalgia, benign liver tumour, intercranial hypertension and blood cancer which I am currently on chemo for. Is there anyone that has any experience of arthritis in their thumbs please?

Thank you kelly x

14 Replies

You could be over using your hands, typing a lot etc?

Dazakella2010 in reply to Hidden

No... I’m a nurse and have been on long term sick leave since March last year due the my cancer diagnosis. I have been quite poorly as all my diagnosis have happened within a year so haven’t been doing much this last year.

Hi Dazakella2010,

i sent this to "treweed" recently...hope it helps



Hi treweed,

i get burning in another finger joint and have tell tale signs of trouble in lots of smaller joints and it just comes and goes entirely unpredictably. Occasionally i put nurofen gel on it and that really helps. I take turmeric and glucosamine/chondroitin and omega 3 tablets every day. I work hard to keep the fingers and hands strong by squeezing stress balls most days. I'm 51.

A friend of mine is a GP and has a private "hand clinic" which he runs half a day per week. I would try to find something like that. Operations are definitely possible. I suspect they try to inject it to start with, the idea being that you can survive on injections for a few years before an operation.

Good luck!



I have recently started to have a sore right wrist. It felt like it was going to cramp up and needed to crack. After a few days I developed thumb pain at the joint of my right hand. It has started to wake me up in the night when I lean on my wrist to turn over, or if my wrist is bent when I'm laying in bed. I still have full movement in my thumb but there's a constant dull ache around my thumb joint and wrist. I can still carry heavy shopping bags with no pain, but pushing myself up off of the floor with my wrist bent is very painful. It isn't improving so I think I will need to contact a doctor. My mother's side of the family have all had arthritis so I'm assuming this is what is potentially causing my discomfort and pain. I am only 34 and all of the info I have read says that it occurs in people over 40.

I feel your pain, and you are not alone :)

Hi. I have arthritis in many joints including my thumbs, but I'm 30 years older than you. I can certainly empathise with how painful it is. Initially my GP put steroid injections into the joints (both hands). This would leave me pain-free for about a year, but, gradually the pain would build up again. Eventually, the injections didn't work at all, but this is over a number of years, so injections might work well for you at the moment. After seeing a hand specialist I agreed to a trapeziectomy on my left hand. This worked really well and 18 months later I had the same operation done to my right hand. I do have arthritis in the smaller joints of my hands, but absolutely no pain in my thumbs at all, now.

Hope this helps somewhat and I sincerely hope that your health improves. Take care.

Hello dazakella and I’m so sorry you have all the troubles that you have.

Anything we could suggest on this forum for over-the-counter medication could inter react with your other intake so please be very careful. CertainIy I would gently exercise all the bits of you that ache and you could ask for referral to a physio for this if your find it hard to do.

Why not have a chat with your pharmacist for advice?

I have arthritis in the thumbs - and elsewhere - and take various over-the-counter stuff plus morphine patches topped up with ibuprofen - but especially I exercise. I’ve just finished my 10000 paces today.

Hi Dazakella this is verypainful had it for years since have my arthristis in both thumbs. Plenty of the votarol gel

Yes I have it in both my thumb bases, not as painful as you describe Dazakella but its there. I have to be careful not to stretch or use them too much. The pain's has been known to hit the back of my hands and very recently went all the way up the inside of one arm, then ached for a while afterwards.

I was diagnosed a long time ago with "widespread" OA in spine, feet, knees, wrists and hands. I also am prone to sciatica in my lower spine on the left hand side of my body that hits right down to my toes. It was a nightmare but now I'm less active its settled down a lot, just reminds and brings me up short now and again. I'm 73, in Lupus remission, have kidney disease and asthma.

I think the OA is by far the worst because of the pain its brought me, and the problems re movement have nearly driven me mad at times. I get very depressed.

Hi Kelky - oh yes I’ve had it in both thumbs and it’s so awful. My left thumb was in 2005 and then in my right thumb in 2017. It’s so painful isn’t it. I had guided steroid injections into the thumbs - one was successful and one bit so much. Your other health issues may be causing this sort of flare - I do know that cancer treatments can cause this sort of joint pain. What are you able to take for your joint issues alongside your other meds? It’s certainly normal and not uncommon (your docs are wrong, as were mine at the time!). Have you contacted Versus arthritis for a chat? They are very good and may signpost you more to go back to your docs. I think this may being made worse be cause of your chemo - perhaps a little investigating by you around your chemo possible side effects. I have found that I have needed to become an expert in myself to know why things are happening and how I can talk to my docs about it.

H i, I also have arthritis in both my thumbs and it is very painful and debilitating ad for good meaure I also have the condition in the tips of my fingers which makes it painful to type. , There is not much to do to help except take pain relief (not always effective) I sometimes hold my hnd in very nhot water for a few minite and it helps to keep the joint warn. The doctor used to fit the handd with a special mitten which keeps the finger joints warm so you may want to ask your doctor if you can have thesefitted.. Also there is a gel made of peppers Piroxin or something sounding like that. I really helps if you rub it in several times a day. Hope you get fixed up soon. xx

Thank you all for your comments....

I have had one injection in the left thumb joint and unfortunately that only seemed to ease the pain for about 3 weeks.... after it took 2 weeks to work.

I have another telephone appointment with the hand specialist tomorrow morning so hopefully there is going to be a plan. I can’t wash or dress myself properly or even cook. X

Dear DK2010,

Am sorry for the multiple ailments you're experiencing.

I am only 48😂. Yes, very young we are. My fingers (now 3, two thumbs and the next finger). Left thumb nolonger folds. When it snaps and fold, I have to bring it back to order using my right hand amidst pain. The doctor said its RA. Due to TAH+BSO. The lack of oestrogen in the body makes us vulnerable to all bone related ailments. Lots of imbalances.

My knees arm joints ache. I feel like my mother. Yet she is 84 ! At times my hands go numb at waking up. So I get to exercise the fingers by folding and unfolding them to allow circulation.

But I wake up on the bright side of life and encourage myself: J, it shall be well. You're not alone. You can make it. You're fearfully and wonderfully made. And I act like it's a disability and not an inability.

It shall be well. He knows your name. Keep trusting Him. For He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond ALL that we ask for.


Stay safe!

Hi! I’ve had a Trapeziectomy. My left thumb was excruciating. Couldn’t do anything. It went in for quite a few years from spasms of short blasts, to constant pain. After being treated for RSI, they decided to do X-ray, 2 years after the constant pain and wearing thumb brace. Arthritis of the Trapezium bone, base of thumb.

Had removed, back to being able to do normal things and none of that awful stabbing pain.

That was 8 years ago. My right thumb is now starting early symptoms. I had it fine privately, as I literally couldn’t do anything due to sever pain. We don’t realise how much we need our thumbs. Felt really stupid going to dr regarding sore thumb! I won’t leave it so long. Good luck.

sorry, only reading this now; I have RA since 2015 [lateonset as I'm now 77} affecting mainly hands, wrists, feet, ankes. In the past year or so I too have developed what you describe. Queried it and they found severe OA in wrists n thumbs. I now take Glucosamine/chondro tabs, turmeric n cumin in cooking soup etc and wear compression gloves as far as poss; all this helps me, but tlk to your GP, specialist, even HR where you work. Take care xx

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