New Procedures for Thumb Arthritis Relief

POSTED ON 1/22/2016 IN Hand and Wrist BY Christopher Centeno

Our new video on thumb arthritis relief is a great example of how we roll here at Regenexx. While some technologies that we offer have done better than others throughout the years, we have continued to focus on this procedure to try and produce the best possible results. Because of that, the thumb arthritis treatment we offer today is dramatically more successful than older versions.

Why is Thumb Arthritis a Big Deal?

Thumb arthritis is also known as "texting thumb". It occurs in women much more commonly than in men and believe or not, it's one of the most common forms of arthritis! Obviously the wear and tear on the joint caused by our smart phones isn't helping.

Like Many Things, There's a Bigger Picture Story

Modern medicine, due to the time pressured managed care world of doctors, loves to focus on what I call the "bright shiny object". As an example, if the thumb hurts and a picture shows arthritis, you focus on the thumb. While at first blush that would seem to make common sense, but in a machine as complex as the body it ignores what caused the issue. In the most commonly arthritic joint at the base of the thumb (CMC joint), ligament laxity has been found to be a major cause of an unstable joint that facilitates the arthritis. In addition, we've found that small, often barely noticeable issues in the median nerve at the wrist are also involved. The same thing can commonly occur with neck nerves. Take my right thumb as an example. When I had a severely irritated nerve in my neck, within two weeks the middle thumb joint developed arthritis. How? We now believe that arthritis and nerve issues are intimately connected.

So How Did We Improve the Thumb Arthritis Procedure?

To optimize thumb arthritis relief, we focus on all three components above with the technology that best fits the patient's condition (platelets, same day stem cells, or cultured stem cells). One strategy is obviously treating the joint with a precise, image guided injection. The next is focusing on reducing the ligament laxity causing the joint to be unstable. Finally, we treat the nerve component by carefully using ultrasound guidance to inject platelet growth factors to break up scar tissue and improve blood supply around the nerve. The improvement in results has been significant. As an example, we went from about one-third or less patients who responded well when we just addressed the joint, to more than two-thirds with severe arthritis responding well by taking care of all three problems. Most patients who underwent the new protocol and were surgical candidates, opted not to get the surgery. The upshot? Enjoy the new video above. We're looking forward to continue to help many patients avoid really invasive and at times barbaric surgeries!

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