Thumb pain can be disabling. A general understanding of the anatomy of the wrist and hand helps one understand possible sources of thumb pain.
There are many bones in the hand but for this discussion we will limit it to two major groups: the carpals and metacarpals.
The carpals are eight small small bones bound in two rows of four bones each.
The metacarpals are five in number and make up our palm region. They lie between the carpals and the fingers (phalanges).
The joint space between the carpal bones and the proximal base of the metacarpals make up the CMC (carpometacarpal) joint.
Thumb pain can occur when there is arthritis in the CMC joint. Other causes of thumb pain include tendonitis, DeQuervan’s tenosynovitis, peripheral neuropathy, peripheral nerve compression, brachial plexus injury, peripheral artery disease.
Treatment options involve splinting, PT, rest and NSAIDs. Surgical options include fusion or prosthetic replacement both of which are major surgeries with moderate to poor outcomes.