A splint is often advised by your healthcare professional as a first treatment option. The aim of the splint is to support the thumb to reduce pain. This shouldn't stop you from keeping your thumb mobile during the day.
You may sometimes need to use a splint during the day when carrying out repetitive activities, it's not advised to wear this all the time. You may only need to use this for a few weeks in order to settle the symptoms.
If painkillers aren't helping to control the pain, your healthcare professional may discuss the option of having a corticosteroid injection into the base of the thumb joint.
Corticosteroids are medicines that help reduce pain and inflammation. They may also be given with a local anaesthetic.
Injections may not cure your condition, they are used to help with the pain.
In some cases, surgery may be an option if all other treatment options have been tried. The operation is called a trapeziectomy and involves removing a small bone at the base of the thumb to reduce pain.
Osteoarthritis can sometimes mean you need to take some time off work to help recovery. How long you're off will depend on the nature of your condition and your role at work.
You do not need to be symptom free before you consider returning to work. Continuing to go to work, or returning to work as soon as is possible for you, will help your recovery. Gradually getting back to your normal daily activities can help to build up your strength and stamina levels.
Help and support
Following this advice, you should see gradual improvements over time.
If your symptoms haven't improved, or it's got worse, within 6 weeks of following this advice, talk to a healthcare professional about your symptoms.