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Thumb pain: what are the symptoms of rhizoarthrosis?

Lat rhizoarthrosis is a type of osteoarthritis that mainly affects thumb base, characterized by pain, lack of strength and movement problems. Rhizoarthrosis is a condition that mainly affects women – whose symptoms can appear from the age of 40 – and can be very disabling, even limiting the gripping of objects.

In fact, in this pathology there is a progressive degeneration of the articular surfaces which leads to an increase in pain and a decrease in movement with the consequent development of rigidity.

dr. Giorgio Pivatohead of hand surgery and reconstructive microsurgery at Humanitas, in an article by Humanitas Health which we report below in full.

What is rhizoarthrosis?

Rhizoarthrosis is one degenerative osteoarthritis which affects the joint at the base of the finger, that is between the first metacarpal and one of the eight bones that make up the so-called carpus, the trapezoidal situation causes pain and functional limitation.

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Rhizoarthrosis: what are the causes?

This degenerative disease is caused by aging and wear of the cartilage between the first metacarpal and the trapezium. The cartilage present between the bones is consumed, which causes friction between the articular surfaces, which in turn can cause pain even at rest, due to the inflammatory situation resulting from this conflicting situation.

Rhizoarthrosis: symptoms

Among the symptoms of rhizoarthrosis, the most important are:

– thumb deformity;

– pain at the base of the finger during everyday actions such as opening a jar;

– difficulty in moving;

– decrease in grip strength between the first and second finger.

How is rhizoarthrosis treated?

The first thing to do is to understand which gestures they save the joint, decreasing the perception of pain and limiting the wear of the trapezio-metacarpal joint. These actions are part of what is called “solidarity economy”. Examples along these lines could be using a can opener to open a jar, preferring larger pens, using a vertical mouse that keeps the thumb in a more physiological position.

It is also useful use a night rest splint and a functional day splint specially packaged on the patient’s hand: as no hand is identical and no clinical picture is identical, the bands must be personalized. These aids relieve pain, night and day, and prolong the “life” of the joint.

Rhizoarthrosis: when surgery is needed

When the pain becomes unbearable, the quality of life is too compromised, daily function is excessively limited, and conservative treatments have proven ineffective, surgery is indicated, it is performed in a day hospital with anesthesia only of the arm. It’s a’suspension arthroplasty.

The operation, lasting approximately 30 minutes, consists of a small incision at the base of the thumb, the removal of the trapezium, in order to recreate sufficient space to avoid conflicts between the articular surfaces.

The thumb will remain immobilized for approximately three weeks, after which we begin with the rehabilitation protocol which should be considered an integral part of the treatment.

Rehabilitation allows you to immediately use your hand for normal daily activities and return to work after a few weeks.


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