Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease characterized by limitation of movement, joint pain and tenderness. It is often also associated with muscle weakness. It is a common disease that affects approximately 30% of the population between 50 and 70 years of age, and this percentage increases in older age groups. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include obesity, physical inactivity, and muscle weakness.
Pain at the base of the thumb is an unpleasant reality for many older Australians. For most, this is due to wear and tear on the cartilage surfaces at the basal thumb joint. This wear and tear results in a thinning of the cartilage and a loss of the protective cushioning that allows our joints to move smoothly.