the main points . The thumb can also suffer from arthritis, but a new study shows that non-surgical treatment can help patients avoid surgery. 16% of patients rated the non-surgical treatment as excellent, 39% said it was good, and 26% said it was average. And 14% rated it as average. Only 5% reported poor results, and about 71% said they would be willing to undergo the same treatment again under similar circumstances.
TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Patients with osteoarthritis in their thumbs can achieve good long-term outcomes using orthotics and exercise therapy while avoiding surgery, new research shows. Study author Lisa Esteban Lopez, of the University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, said that “treatment options indicate that the effects of treatment are sustainable” in patients with problems with the carpometacarpal joint of the thumb. Osteoarthritis in this area is common in the elderly. It causes pain and stiffness at the base of the thumb. Current guidelines recommend initial non-surgical treatments, including orthotics, steroid injections, pain medications, and exercise therapy. Surgery may be considered if this does not work, but it is expensive, requires lengthy rehabilitation, and results vary, and while other studies have looked at short-term outcomes, this study looked at a longer time frame. Long-term treatment for patients with thumb osteoarthritis, treated at eight hand clinics between 2011 and 2015. Non-surgical treatment focused on the use of orthotics, physical therapy sessions focused on exercises, achieving more stable resistance of the thumb, home exercise diaries, and the researchers analyzed the pain. and activities of daily living (ADL), and other outcomes over five years, using standardized questions. In a preliminary analysis of 134 patients who did not undergo surgery, most improvements occurred in the first three months. But from 12 months to over five years, there was a “clinically relevant” improvement in standardized scores, as well as scores for overall hand function and work ability. About 16% of patients rated the results of non-surgical treatment as excellent. 39% said they were good, 26% said average and 14% said average. Only 5% reported poor outcomes, and about 71% of patients said they would be willing to undergo the same treatment again under similar conditions. Researchers also evaluated subsequent surgery rates in a larger sample of 217 patients. With a median follow-up of seven years, 22% decided to undergo surgical treatment, and about 70% of patients who underwent surgery did so within the first year after initial treatment. The results were published online October 30 in The Journal of Bone & Joint surgery supports current recommendations for initial non-surgical treatment, and the researchers said that in addition to previous evidence of short-term benefits, the new study shows “there is no worsening of pain or limitations in ADLs after 12 months in patients undergoing non-surgical treatment.” In a press release for the magazine. More information The US National Institutes of Health has more on osteoporosis. Source: Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, press release, October 30, 2023