What are treatment options for thumb pain?

What are treatment options for thumb pain?
What are treatment options for thumb pain?

What are treatment options for thumb pain is a common question we get as physical therapists.

The treatment options for thumb pain depend on the underlying cause and severity of the pain.

Here are some common treatment approaches for thumb pain:

  1. Rest and Immobilization: Resting the thumb and avoiding activities that worsen the pain is often the first step in treatment. Immobilizing the thumb with a splint or brace can help reduce strain and promote healing.
  2. Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help manage pain and reduce inflammation associated with thumb pain. In some cases, prescription medications may be necessary.
  3. Physical Therapy: Physical therapists can provide exercises and techniques to strengthen thumb muscles and improve joint flexibility. They may also use modalities like heat or ultrasound for pain relief.
  4. Corticosteroid Injections: In cases of inflammation or arthritis, corticosteroid injections may be administered to reduce pain and swelling in the thumb joint.
  5. Lifestyle Modifications: Changing the way you perform certain tasks or using assistive devices can alleviate thumb pain. For example, using a different grip when holding objects or using voice recognition software to reduce typing can be helpful.
  6. Exercises: Specific thumb and hand exercises can improve strength and flexibility. A physical therapist can recommend exercises tailored to your condition.
  7. Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold packs to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. Heat is often used before exercise or activity, while cold is used afterward.
  8. Topical Analgesics: Some topical creams or gels containing ingredients like capsaicin or lidocaine can provide temporary relief from thumb pain when applied to the skin.
  9. Surgery: In severe cases or when conservative treatments are ineffective, surgery may be considered. Surgical options can include joint fusion, joint reconstruction, or joint replacement.
  10. Arthritis Medications: For thumb arthritis, medications like disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may be prescribed to slow down the progression of the disease.

The appropriate treatment option will depend on the cause of your thumb pain, your overall health, and your treatment goals.

It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. Early intervention and proper care can help alleviate thumb pain and improve hand function.


Physical therapists can discuss health exercise programs for you but more specifically, we can help if you have a weak or painful grip. A systematic approach of proper testing to determine impairments, then manual therapy and muscular re-training is usually necessary to get better.

At PhysioFit of NC, we have the expert team in musculoskeletal conditions to help you to the fullest.

We provide a comprehensive treatment approach through our Grip Strength Program.  This includes manual therapy and exercises to improve finger and hand mobility and wrist stability. The primary goal of treatment is to address the underlying muscular imbalance issues and strength deficits causing impaired grip.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today so we can help you!