Arthrosis of the hand (trapezoid-metacarpal)

"Currently, wrist prostheses are made in very few centers, although they have been fully implemented in other countries for more than 20 years, since they offer enormous advantages for the patient".


What is trapeziometacarpal arthrosis?

Osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist is a degenerative disease of the joints of the hand or of the bones forming the wrist, with loss of the cartilage covering the joint surfaces, so that the joint space disappears.

This causes hardening of the bone surfaces with formation of osteophytes (bone growth at the periphery of the joint), which causes stiffness, numbness and pain when trying to move the joint.

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology of the Clinic has extensive experience and performs the latest surgical techniques to solve the problem of osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist.

What are the symptoms of hand or wrist osteoarthritis?

The trapezium is located between the scaphoid and the first metacarpal. The trapezoid-metacarpal osteoarthritis is the most frequent of the hand and of wide presence in women from the fifty years.

It is located between the trapezium and the first metacarpal and it limits the movements of the pincer and opposition of the thumb.

The severe affectation leads to a deformity, known as "thumb in Z", associated with pain that is the main reason for consultation.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Joint pain.
  • Functional disability.
  • Inflammation of the joint.
  • Loss of strength.
  • Articular rigidity.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have osteoarthritis in your hand

How is osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist diagnosed?

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The symptomatology referred by the patient who suffers from arthrosis of the hand, of the trapezium-metacarpal joint, is the key point to guide the diagnosis. 

Later, the clinical examination on the part of the specialist will verify if the pain has increased when moving the fingers, if cracks or small deformities exist.

The realization of image tests (radiography and, sometimes, magnetic resonance), will confirm the diagnosis, checking if a reduction of the cartilages exists or if osteophytes have appeared, a reduction of the contour of the bones.

How is osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist treated?

The aim of the treatment is to relieve pain and maintain functional capacity

There are numerous techniques to relieve pain and restore functionality of the trapezoid-metacarpal joint, such as resection osteotomy of the base of the first metacarpal, arthrodesis, trapeziectomy with or without interposition of soft tissue, replacement arthroplasty with Silastic, interposition arthroplasty with soft tissue and total arthroplasty of the Caffinière.

The objective of the prosthetic replacement in the trapezoid-metacarpal joint is to establish a fixed point of support at the base of the thumb capable of providing stability.

The total joint arthroplasty is able to provide stability, ranges of motion, clamping and manual strength that are durable, satisfactory and painless.

Where do we treat it?


The Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology covers the full spectrum of congenital or acquired conditions of the musculoskeletal system including trauma and its aftermath.

Since 1986, the Clinica Universidad de Navarra has had an excellent bank of osteotendinous tissue for bone grafting and offers the best therapeutic alternatives.

Organized in care units

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Experts in arthroscopic surgery.
  • Highly qualified professionals who perform pioneering techniques to solve traumatological injuries.
  • One of the centers with the most experience in bone tumors.

Our team of professionals

Traumatology specialists with experience in the treatment of hand and wrist osteoarthritis