Arthritis is a condition that irritates or destroys a joint. Although there are several types of arthritis, the one that most often affects the joint at the base of the thumb (the basal joint) is osteoarthritis (degenerative or “wear-and-tear” arthritis).
Osteoarthritis occurs when the smooth cartilage that covers the ends of the bones begins to wear away. Cartilage enables the bones to glide easily in the joint; without it, bones rub against each other, causing friction and damage to the bones and the joint.
Thumb Arthritis of the thumb base is more common in women than in men, and usually occurs after age 40. Prior fractures or other injuries to the joint may increase the likelihood of developing this condition.« Back to Glossary Index