What is TMC Arthrosis?
Arthritis at the base of the thumb (formerly known as CMC Arthritis -now commonly referred to as trapeziometacarpal or TMC Arthrosis) is a common problem. In fact, TMC arthrosis has been found to be symptomatic in 26.2% of women and 13.2% of men age 71-100.
The symptoms of TMC arthrosis can negatively impact both functional and occupational performance, often making it necessary for the involvement of physical and occupational therapists. Recent surveys suggest that 87% of therapists recommend a splint to treat moderate TMC arthrosis and research literature suggests evidence to support use of a splint to decrease pain and improve function.
Clinical Recommendations for Using a Splint for TMC Arthrosis
There have been numerous clinical studies on using a splint to treat TMC Arthrosis, but there is no evidence that shows one splint is better than another. Research evidence does suggest some clinical recommendations:
- Splinting has been found to decrease pain and increase function for individuals with TMC arthrosis, (CMC joint arthritis).
- Recommendations can be a client (patient) centered decision. Taking both the client’s preferences and therapist’s skills into consideration.
- According to studies that examined client preferences- the prefabricated, neoprene-type designs using supportive materials with foam linings, may be preferred for wear during the day.
- It is an appropriate conservative treatment option to trial wearing a splint during the day and functional use for 90-120 days.
- Research has found long-term positive impact from using splints at night to minimize holding the thumb in stressful positions, so the recommendation of a night-time splint should also be considered.
The 3pp ThumSling supports the CMC joint and applies light compression to help reduce the slippage and grinding on the joint.
The 3pp Prima Thumb Brace provides optimal support and a conforming fit around the thumb and palm so fingers are free for unimpeded function
For firmer support and rest of more involved joints, the ThumSaver MP and the Fix Comfort Thumb Brace are designed to protect but still allow function.
For more information on TMC arthrosis and the use of an orthosis: