Pain in thumb joints

Hi I am new here. My wife and I have been, uncannily, suffering from the same complaint for more than a year now. It's painful at the base of both thumb joints, at the base of the Palm. It's there when we wake up in the morning but gets worse during the day. Could there be a relationship in what we are eating or drinking to set this off or could it be a coincidence do you think? Any help out there?

19 Replies

  • You are most welcome.

    It is unlikely to be connected but unfortunately we can not make diagnosis here.

    You don't say your age...general not too specific is fine!

    I have suffered arthritis in the base of my right thumb for many many years. Gaardenig from a young age taken its toll.

    Has your GP any ideas? Or had Xrays taken?

    Obviously that would be your first port of call


  • Late 60 early 70. Nothing recommended by GP but anti-inflammatory tabs plus gel.

  • Oh joys..the age when everything either stops working or drops off. Sorry!

    Do either the gel or tablets help? Do be careful with anti inflamatory meds as they can shred your tum/ It is often advised to take Omeprazole as well.


  • Yes to a certain extent - wife cannot take the tablets though. Gel does give some relief.

  • I can't take anti inflam's and I've found that if I tape my thumb to my index finger when doing chores, etc, that it helps. Also, immersing my hand in hot water to soak helps. Try anything to find relief and no matter how weird it sounds, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

  • The pain in the thumb joint could be caused by muscle micro cramps in the forearm. It is worth getting someone skilled in massage to free this up. It may or may not help. All one can do is investigate.

    Hope this helps.

  • A physio suggested that the pain will be worse when there is more blood in the area; I.e. When arms hanging vertically. Suggested raising arms occasionally to ease it - which it does - but can you imagine doing this outside in the streets or supermarket !

  • Have you ruled out carpel tunnel, however it's usually accompanied by pins and needles up to the elbow. X

  • No pins and needles or other symptoms apart from the thumbs.

  • I'm sure it would have been picked up anyway. Maybe a scan may show if any underlying problems. I do hope you both get some relief soon. X

  • i have this in both thumbs and by the end of the day is worse i find massaging the thumb and gentle pull at the joint does help

  • Sounds like general wear and tear to me. However, best to see the doc for a referral to a hand-clinic.

  • Just a thought, did you and your wife get a new gadget, like an ipad, new phone, wii, or something which caused you to use your thumb in a different way rather than thinking food or drink cause.

    The best pain relief I get from my pain in base of thumb joint is to wear a thumb splint when it starts hurting or putting it on if I'm about to do something that aggregates it. Worth trying, maybe

    Hope you both find some relief soon


  • Hi Malc 432, it sounds like the usual sort of treatment for hand problems. I've had my arthritis in them joints for nearly thirty years. I don't even get to see a specialist these days, haven't for many years. But on the up side I found the Gels were very good and I use a splint to support the thumb. With access to varied painkillers that don't make a vast difference just take the edge off. Anti- inflammatories work well if you can take them but beware of side effects on stomach & breathing.

  • Yes, you are both suffering from the same condition - ageing! Some of us start early, my feet went in my late 40s and my hands soon after. When I had osteoarthritis confirmed with a consultant I choose not to have x-rays. He said an x-ray result wouldn't change what treatment he would recommend for me, and I figure I can live longer without the extra radiation.

    It sounds like you have the same thing. I found it really helpful to see a hand specialist, (check to see if you can self refer in your area, I did) in my case it was an OT. She came up with some exercises to make sure that the joints don't get stuck and fuse but retain their mobility, and some to strengthen the muscles. She also came up with some ideas to make some of my everyday things easier and less painful to do.

    I can relate to your wife not being able to take to take tablets. I can't either, and I have problems in my feet too so I put the gel on my feet with the part of my hand that hurts the most and kill two birds with one stone!

    I have splints too which rest the joints and protect them when I am doing things like shifting firewood or carrying heavy things. But the most important thing is to let go of the idea that things will get better. We can learn to cope better, but the physical ageing process marches on.

  • Thanks for being so frank! We are already adopting some of the suggestions.

  • Hello Malc432, I suffer joint pain on my right hand thumb, The cold makes it worse to the point I can't ride my motorbike in winter or cold days even with gloves on, Doctor said it was arthritis and nerve inflammation, I do take anti- inflammatory medication for my osteoarthritis and fibromyalga but limited effect on my thumb pain....

    My age is 60 and feel it's just something else I have to try and cope with, I hope you find a solution that works for you....

  • I can sympathise. I get pain in my thumbs when on my push bike just from having to position my hands on handlebars. Its murder !

  • Thanks Nadine will look into it

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