Thumbs Down For Thumb Arthritis

Texting, a crucial form of communication in the current digital era, can be significantly impacted by thumb arthritis in daily activities. However, statistics show that more and more people are feeling discomfort in the digit thanks to overuse. Carpometacarpal (CMC) arthroplasty offers hope for individuals with thumb arthritis. The surgery allows individuals to text again without discomfort by enhancing thumb functionality and reducing pain.


What is thumb arthritis?

Also known as carpometacarpal joint osteoarthritis, thumb arthritis affects the CMC joint located at the base of the thumb. The constant grasping, pinching, and gripping actions can cause degeneration and excruciating pain in the thumb joint over time. CMC arthroplasty may be an option if more conservative treatments are ineffective in relieving symptoms.

CMC joint arthroplasty

When non-surgical treatments for thumb arthritis are ineffective, CMC joint arthroplasty can significantly improve symptoms. During the procedure, a carpal bone in the wrist, known as the trapezium, is removed. The bone is then replaced with an implant, frequently made of silicone or metal. After the procedure, patients should attend physical therapy (PT) to ensure optimal outcomes. With a dedicated recovery, individuals should experience less pain and improved thumb functionality.

Benefits of an arthroplasty

Preserving normal thumb length and alignment, wrist instability prevention, and prevention of further joint degeneration are the main benefits of a CMC arthroplasty. Patients who opt for surgery have high levels of satisfaction. If needed, a trapeziectomy can also be performed. This procedure aims to enhance gripping, pinching, and grasping abilities, enabling individuals to carry out daily tasks, including texting, with less discomfort. The procedure is also minimally invasive, leading to more minor scars, less pain, and higher success rates.

Success rate

Carpometacarpal arthroplasty has a 95% success rate, even at the 10-year mark. Since the procedure preserves thumb length and alignment, prevents wrist instability, and lowers the risk of further joint degeneration, patients report high satisfaction levels. CMC arthroplasty is less invasive than alternative surgeries because tendon grafts are unnecessary.

Are there any risks?

The potential risks of CMC arthroplasty are like any surgery, including infection, bleeding, blood clots, nerve damage, scarring, and the potential for persistent or recurrent symptoms. Tendon tethering and implant subsidence are additional risks unique to CMC joint replacement. Consult a healthcare professional to discuss CMC arthroplasty's specific benefits and risks in each patient's situation.

Adapting after arthroplasty

Individuals with thumb arthritis can make smartphone use more manageable and less painful by making these modifications after surgery. Buy a phone grip or attachable stand to relieve thumb pressure. Next, choose devices that best suit individual grip capabilities. Setting up voice dictation on a smartphone and other assistive programs can help give the thumbs a rest. Turn on predictive text in the device's settings to save typing time and eliminate thumb fatigue.

Pain-free texting

To ease pain and enhance thumb functionality, individuals with thumb arthritis should consider a CMC arthroplasty. After surgery, communicate comfortably by putting some pain-free texting advice into practice and adjusting technology. Consult a medical professional for symptoms of thumb arthritis to determine if CMC arthroplasty is an appropriate course of treatment.

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