Arthritic pain in the thumb joint is often treated by splinting, medications, injections or surgery, explains Mayo Clinic. It is also helpful to stop doing activities that bring on pain in the thumb.
A splint is often used to treat pain in the thumb due to arthritis, according to Mayo Clinic. In addition, a splint helps the thumb joint rest and encourages the proper posture of the thumb. Medications may also help ease the pain of arthritis in the thumb. Doctors commonly recommend over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If those don't work, doctors may turn to prescription medications to alleviate the pain.
Corticosteroid injections may also be given to help the pain associated with thumb arthritis, according to Mayo Clinic. This often ocurrs when splinting and medications do not work. If nothing else proves effective, surgery may be the only option. Joint fusion, which involves fusing the bone to the joint, is one of the potential operations for treating arthritic thumb pain. However, while it alleviates pain in the thumb, it limits its flexibility.
Another surgical treatment is osteotomy, according to Mayo Clinic. This procedure repositions the bone to correct any deformities. A trapeziectomy is another surgical treatment, and it involves removing the trapezium, a bone in the thumb joint. Joint replacement may also relieve the pain, and it often replaces the joint of the thumb with a tendon from somewhere else in the body.