Osteoarthritis is a degenerative process affecting the cartilage lining of a joint, eventually leading to changes in the bone either side of the joint. The joint at the base of the thumb is known as the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint is the commonly affected joint in the hand. It causes pain and reduced strength, particularly between the thumb and fingers.

Initial management of osteoarthritis is focused on symptom control with simple analgesia, NSAIDS (non steroidal anti-inflammatories), splints and steroid injections all having a role.

Eventually if the condition progresses, or if non-operative management has stopped working symptoms can be relieved by a surgical procedure to remove the trapezium bone (trapeziectomy).