Arthritis of the Thumb

Dr. Cohen has extensive experience with individuals affected by arthritis of the thumb cmc joint, also known as basal joint arthritis. This is one of the most common locations for arthritis in the hand. Click on each category below to review the information. Feel free to contact us to be seen by Dr. Cohen. We are easily accessible to patients off the 101 freeway in Westlake Village.

What is Arthritis of the Thumb?

The joint between the base of the thumb and the wrist (the carpometacarpal joint) is subjected to a lot of stress. This saddle-shaped joint is designed to provide a wide range of movement for the thumb, allowing it to swivel, as well as pivot and pinch.

As with all joints, cartilage covers the ends of the bones, enabling a smooth, gliding movement. When that cartilage begins to wear out, due to osteoarthritis or just general "wear and tear," the bones begin to rub against each other, causing pain and damage to the joint and the bones themselves.

Symptoms

In addition to suffering from pain and swelling, people with arthritis of the thumb may struggle with a decreased range of motion and difficulty grasping objects. Symptoms of basal joint arthritis include:

  • Pain at the base of the thumb
  • Difficulty with tasks such as opening jars or door knobs
  • Difficulty grasping keys or anything that requires a pinching or gripping motion

Over time, pain may occur even when not using the thumb to grasp or grip, such as stiffness in the morning and a general achiness in the evening. A protruding bump may occur at the base of the thumb, making it appear to be out of joint.

Early diagnosis and treatment will not only relieve discomfort, it may slow the degeneration of the joint.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis begins with a thorough physical examination. This may include x-rays and other diagnostic tests. Treatment would depend on the severity of the condition and how long it has persisted. Fortunately, there are a wide range of treatment options available, both non-surgical and surgical, that can reduce pain and restore movement.

Although renowned for his surgical ability, Dr. Cohen is a firm believer in using conservative, non-operative treatment plans before considering surgery. For arthritis of the thumb, these might include medication, splinting, hand therapy, ergonomic modifications, and lifestyle changes.

Patient Testimonials

Read and listen (audio quotes), to what just a few of Dr. Cohen’s patients have said:

(Note: be sure to click on the "stop" button before starting a new audio comment)

After delaying for over six months, Steve from Newbury Park visited Dr. Cohen with a hand problem. Dr. Cohen explained the problem in detail and his surgery was scheduled. Only three weeks after the surgery, the healing is amazing and he has full use of his hand. He highly recommends Dr. Cohen and is ecstatic with the results. Hear more of his testimonial:


In her work as a research scientist Mary from Thousand Oaks works on the computer often. When she began having pain she visited Dr. Cohen's office and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel and trigger finger as well as arthritis. Dr. Cohen performed surgery on both hands and she was very happy with the outcome of each surgery. Today she has complete motion and no pain. Listen as she talks about her experience:


Debbie from Newbury Park had extreme pain from arthritis in her left index finger. She had surgery with Dr. Cohen and it was a huge success. She no longer has pain in her hand and feels the surgery was the best thing she could have done. She thanks Dr. Cohen for doing the surgery for her and is considering surgery on other fingers also. Listen to her experience below:


Rhonda from Thousand Oaks, CA had surgery on both of her hands to deal with arthritis. With the surgery, Dr. Cohen has relieved all the pain in both hands and his care was exceptional. Her experience with Dr. Cohen dates back many years when she first met him in the emergency room and after meeting him she would never go to any other hand doctor. Hear her experience below:


Carol from Westlake Village, California had surgery to help with her arthritis. Hear about the results and her progress.


Judy Schneider, Westlake Village, had arthritis in her left thumb. She had seen many doctors over the years. She then went to Dr. Cohen and after being treated has absolutely total control of her thumb and is pain-free.


Dear Dr. Cohen-
How can I ever thank you enough?  I have had several various wrist problems for years.  You had come to me highly recommended and although you weren't covered on my insurance plan, I decided to pay you a visit. Would this Dr. finally be able to help me and give me a suggestion?

In the past 10 years, I have had many orthopedic surgeries- 6 on my wrists and 2 on my knees.  During my initial consultation, you instantly shook your head and said that something just isn't right here and that this wasn't normal- having this many surgeries as well as the "Euflexxa" injections in my knees at only 32 years old.  Never once had a doctor told me that something was just a little off about this whole situation.  Yes- they would try to help me and take care of the pain, but no one has ever tried to get to the bottom of the problem.

Dr. Cohen suggested that I see Dr. Dequet, a local Rheumatologist.  After a consultation with Dr. Dequet, many tests, blood work and x-rays later, I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. We are in the process of trying to find the right medicaton combination that works for me- to help ease my daily pain and stop the progressive destruction of my joints.  I also have piece of mind know knowing that there really is something that is causing my pain- it is not just in my head or that I am being a hypochondriac.  For years I have always had pain- however I would never say anything because there was no reason for me to be in pain.  I can say something now, and stop when I need to stop doing stuff because I don't feel "looney" anymore!

Dr. Cohen- you have helped me tremendously- all within the span of a 30 minute consultation.  I can't thank you enough for even sugessting to me that I needed to see a rheumatologist.  As Dr. Dequet says, I don't need a hand surgeon right now, I need a rheumatologist- but if I ever do need a hand surgeon again, I will surely be seeing you.  No matter what money issues are at the time, it is worth paying the extra money (as you are not a prefered provider on my insurance) for the piece of mind seeing you.  I have all the trust in the world for you and respect you more than I could ever let you know
L.D.
Child Care Specialist


Myrna from Simi Valley was dealing with a growth on her hand at the base of her little finger. She was advised by another Doctor that surgery was the only option, so she visited Dr. Cohen as a second opinion. Dr. Cohen diagnosed her with a gangline cyst and offered aspiration as an option. Therapy was recommended after the aspiration and six weeks later she was doing great. In addition to taking care of the cyst, he helped with arthritis at the base of her thumb. She highly recommends Dr. Cohen and his staff and can't thank them enough! Hear her recorded testimonial below.