What it is:
osteoarthritis (or degenerative arthritis), is a degenerative cartilage condition that leads to direct contact between the bones. It is more common in women and usually after the age of 40. The cause of this form of arthritis is unknown in most cases. Previous injuries and generalized joint laxity may increase the chances of developing this form of arthritis in younger people.
The main symptom is pain at the base of the thumb, which increases during pinch, opening jars, turning door keys. At most advanced stages pain can be present at rest and at night.
Diagnosis is both clinical and radiological.
in early stages occupational therapy, associated with resting splint and non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications is the treatment of choice: hand therapy may play an important role in teaching the patients how to properly use the hand. In case of failure of conservative treatment, surgery may play a role. Different procedures have been described according to the stage (from arthroscopic approach to open surgery)
In this condition after a period of about two weeks of immobilization, hand therapy is mandatory for few months.