Tips To Manage Thumb Arthritis

If you experience symptoms of thumb arthritis, it is important to meet with your doctor for an evaluation and treatment plan. We have tips you can use to care for your thumb.



Thumb arthritis can be painful and disabling. Seeking medical treatment at the first sign of symptoms is the best way to treat pain, improve mobility, and minimize the effect of this condition on your lifestyle. While following your doctor’s treatment plan, there are some steps you can take at home to make daily tasks easier to perform.

  • Use exercises to maintain your range of motion. Exercises that take your thumb through its full range of motion can help to preserve and improve mobility in your thumb joint. Talk with your doctor or physical therapist about exercises you can do.
  • Modify the tools you use at home. A number of household items have been designed for people with restricted hand strength. Helpful tools include special jar openers, key turners, and large zipper pulls. When you are shopping for garden tools, kitchen utensils, and pens, look for items with enlarged, easy-to-use handles. Consider replacing round doorknobs with lever handles that are easier to grasp and use.
  • Treat pain with heat or cold. Talk with your doctor about using cold compresses or heating pads—or a combination of both—when your joint feels swollen or painful.
  • Avoid situations when you clench your hands. Grasping the short handles of a purse or the handles of plastic shopping bags can force you to clench your hand, aggravating your thumb joint. Select a purse with a longer strap that you can comfortably loop over your elbow or shoulder. Instead of using grocery bags with handles, try a boxy paper bag that you can balance on your hip and steady with your arm.

None of these tips are a substitute for medical treatment, but they can be used in addition to a treatment plan to help protect your thumb from further injury, minimize pain, and maximize your quality of life.

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