The base of the thumb or basilar joint is the most common joint Dr. Kim sees with arthritis. Cortisone injections are often helpful. A joint is where bones connect and move. Arthritis is thinning of the cartilage, which is the smooth covering of the joint. The body reacts to loss of the joint surface by forming bone spurs. Thumb arthritis is a genetic predisposition: like graying and thinning of the hair, it comes with age and it shows up earlier in some families. Unlike thinning of the hair, women tend to get thumb arthritis sooner than men do.
Patients with thumb arthritis report pain and weakness with pinching and grasping. For instance, opening jars, turning doorknobs or keys, and writing are often painful.
As with other aspects of aging, we adapt to thumb arthritis and treatment is often unnecessary. Options for treatment include non-surgical methods and surgery. Treatments without surgery range from ice/heat, pain medicines, splinting, and injections. Surgery consists of removing the joint either by removing a bone or connecting the bones together. There are options for moving one of your tendons to secure or cushion the bone. After surgery, a splint or cast is worn for several weeks.
Natural Foods for Reducing Inflammation
There are some natural remedies for arthritis of the hands. While not a cure, these natural remedies can help alleviate one of the worst symptoms of arthritis... Inflammation.
- Ice - Cold therapy is good for those suffering from hand arthritis. You can use ice packs, a plastic bag filled with crushed ice or a bag of frozen vegetables. Simply put the ice pack on the affected area for a few minutes and then repeat. Continue this home treatment for about 20 minutes, several times a day. Apply the cold compress to only one or two joints at a time, and be sure to put a thin towel between the ice pack and the skin to prevent frostbite.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory and alkaline-forming properties that help reduce pain and stiffness in the hands from arthritis.
- Ginger - Ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce arthritis pain and inflammation.
- Epsom Salt - Mix two cups of Epsom salt in warm bath water, and soak your hands in it for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Turmeric Curcumin - Add one teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of hot milk along with a little honey and drink it once daily. You can also try the spiced turmeric milk (recipe here). Alternatively, heat a quart of water, add one tablespoon of turmeric powder and boil the solution for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool and then drink it daily.
Learn more about Turmeric Curcumin
Avoiding Fingertip Injuries
Importance of Certification
Dr. Kim is one of a few board certified hand surgeons in the area. In addition to doing 5 years of general surgery, 2 years of plastic surgery training , 1 year of research in wound healing, he also completed a 1 year hand surgical fellowship at the famous Kutz-Kleinert hand institute in Louisville, KY. Dr. Kim participated in the first US hand transplant in 1999. Dr. Kim has passed the intensive examinations to obtain (CAQH) board certification in hand surgery. He is also a member of the ASSH (American Society of Surgery of the Hand). He performs many of his hand surgeries with WALANT ( wide awake local anesthesia no tourniquet ) which makes the procedure and recovery fast and comfortable. LEARN MORE >>