Hand and thumb osteoarthritis

Treatments for hand and thumb osteoarthritis

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between two bones becomes thin. Overtime the cartilage will wear out, causing the bones to touch and not allowing it to move smoothly against one another.


A common place to have osteoarthritis in your hand is your thumb joint. It may also occur in your fingers, especially the tip and middle joints.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Stiffness when moving the joints in the morning

  • Warm and tenderness on touch

  • Swelling and redness 

  • Finger or thumb resting in an abnormal position 

  • Pain and difficulty with gripping, pinching, opening jars 

Symptoms are often worse in winter or with change in weather. It can also get aggravated with overuse. 

How can a Hand Therapist help?

A Hand physio therapist can help in many ways to prevent or delay you having surgery for osteoarthritis. Treatment includes

  • Fabricating a custom-made thermoplastic splint for protection

  • Fabricating neoprene or lycra fingerstalls for swelling and pain

  • Education on management strategies such as joint protection

  • Exercises to improve joint stability and glide nerves 

  • Referring you to a Hand Surgeon if necessary

If you have a osteoarthritis and would like to see our Hand Physiotherapists, get in touch with our physio clinics located across Sydney. We have locations conveniently at Concord, Lidcombe, Marrickville or Chester Hill.