Swelling of the thumb joint

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Swelling of the thumb joint is a painful condition and some people ignore the swelling in the initial stage but it can worsen as time goes by. A swelling thumb joint causes pain and discomfort if not properly treated and can disrupt the daily activities of the individual.

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Swelling of the thumb joint heals after a few days without any treatment, but sometimes it requires treatment in order to minimize the pain and swelling.

When a person suffers from thumb joint pain, it can be caused by arthritis. This is also known as basal joint arthritis which is a type of osteoarthritis in which the person experiences pain and swelling. The persistent pain and swelling can cause changes in the flexibility and strength of the thumb and there is difficulty in performing common tasks.

Causes of thumb joint swelling

Thumb joint
Trauma and injury to the thumb, wrist and hand can cause thumb swelling.
  • Trauma and injury to the thumb, wrist and hand can cause thumb swelling. Injury while playing or in the workplace can cause swelling and sometimes an injury can cause fracture of the thumb bone that can be seen through an X-ray of the thumb.
  • Overusing the thumb such as texting messages or playing the guitar or violin puts stress and strain on the thumb joint.
  • It can be caused by swelling, pain and immobility of the joint of the thumb.
  • Conditions such as arthritis and osteoarthritis of the small joints can affect the joints of the thumb. These can cause the thumb to swell along with pain and limited movement of the thumb. Other fingers can also be affected by arthritis.
  • Swelling of the thumb joint can be caused by tendonitis and bursitis of the thumb. Insect bites and stings can also cause thumb swelling.
  • An infection of the thumb can cause it to swell or a secondary infection caused by trauma or a cut on the thumb.

Treatment of thumb joint swelling

  • Take a prescribed anti-inflammatory and pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen to help reduce the pain and swelling.
  • If there is an infection and formation of pus, take prescribed antibiotics to help minimize the swelling and pain.
  • Apply a cold compress over the affected area of the thumb or wrap ice cubes in a clean towel and apply it over the swelling thumb at least 10 to 15 minutes for 2-3 times a day to help reduce the swelling.
  • Avoid certain activities that triggered the swelling of the thumb for a few days until the swelling completely subsides.
  • Pour warm water over the swelling thumb for 10 minutes at least 2-3 times a day to help minimize the pain and swelling especially with conditions such as arthritis of the thumb joint.
  • Apply alternately warm and cold compresses to help increase the circulation of blood as well as helping in reducing the swelling and pain.
  • Wear a splint in order to prevent movement of the thumb and allowing it to rest.

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