Orthopedic Physician Assistant
Osteoarthritis is a leading cause of disability among older adults, with the hips, knees, and hands being the most affected appendages. Osteoarthritis affects roughly 302 million people worldwide. Carpometacarpal arthritis of the thumb (CMC arthritis) is a prevalent diagnosis that affects 15% of people over the age of 30 and 90% of people over the age of 80 years. Osteoarthritis is the degradation of the cartilage of part or the whole joint, featuring bone remodeling, formation of osteophytes, and synovial inflammation. This causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of motion and joint function. CMC arthritis specifically affects gripping, grabbing, pinching, and writing. It affects overall quality of life and work functions causing disability. Understanding the pathophysiology and anatomy of CMC arthritis, as well as ordering and interpreting imaging accurately, will lead to the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Treatment options include pharmaceutical, non-pharmaceutical, and surgical interventions to improve quality of life and disability. This article describes correctly diagnosing and treating these patients. Appropriate treatment options and timely referrals provide optimal patient management for this diagnosis.
King LE. Understanding Carpometacarpal Arthritis. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2023; 5(2).
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