Arthritis of the Thumb - Why Women Suffer from This Condition More Frequently Than Men

Posted: January 7, 2011

While physicians have long recognized that women are far more likely to suffer from arthritis of the thumb than men (10 times more in fact), the reason has not always been clear. It is believed that hormones play a role in the increased vulnerability women experience in their hands - particularly the broad reaching thumb joint.

Referred to as basilar joint arthritis, or CMC (carpal metacarpal) arthritis, newer studies suggest that a particular molecule found in women may predispose women to joint abnormality (laxity) that can lead to arthritis of the thumb.

A study performed with grants from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) explored the levels of "relaxin serum"-the hormone that softens the pelvic ligaments and cervix in the female body in preparation for childbirth—and its role in causing more women than men to suffer from arthritis of the thumb as well as other joint conditions.

Ongoing research will further assess varying levels of relaxin in men and women, as well as reactive conditions leading to abnormal joint conditions and ultimately arthritis.

Dr. David Hildreth performs a new less invasive LRTI procedure in the treatment of arthritis of the thumb.

Source: Some of the information contained in this article was obtained from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF).