Arthritis is thinning of the cartilage, which is the smooth covering of the joint. The body reacts to loss of the joint surface by forming bone spurs (osteophytes) (see Figure 1). Thumb arthritis is a genetic predisposition: like graying and thinning of the hair, it comes with age and it shows up earlier in some families. Unlike thinning of the hair, women . Early symptoms of arthritis often respond to splinting, rest or injection of anti-inflammatory medication into the thumb base. Eventually, however, like other forms of arthritis, this degenerative disease will worsen over time. If the arthritis becomes so painful that it limits daily activities, surgery is the only option for definitive relief. Following surgery, most . Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and cartilage loss within the joint. There are several types of arthritis, the most common type, osteoarthritis, or wear-and-tear arthritis, occurs commonly in the joint at the base thumb.