Who is at risk of contracting thumb arthritis?

The risk factors associated with arthritis of the thumb include:

  • Age: Degenerative thumb osteoarthritis can develop in people of all ages. However, it is found to be very rare in the people aged 40 and below. As this is a gradually developing condition, the risk of contracting thumb arthritis can be considered to be increasing with age.
  • Gender: Degenerative thumb osteoarthritis, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, is more likely to occur in women than men. On the other hand, men are at high risk of getting gouty arthritis.
  • Athletics: People who suffer a thumb joint injury during a rough and high-impact sport are at an increased risk of getting post-traumatic thumb arthritis. Example of such sports include:
    • Football
    • Basketball
    • Soccer
    • Wrestling
    • Rugby
    • Hockey
    • Skiing
    • Snowboarding
  • Familial history: Certain arthritic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can be from genetics. The individuals, who have an immediate family member or any relative carrying a history of rheumatoid arthritis, are at a high risk.
  • Smoking: Several studies have suggested that smoking is among the key factors for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Certain occupations: People with certain occupations like painting that need a group of repetitive movements for extended periods are said to be at high risk of contracting degenerative thumb osteoarthritis.

Now, it’s important to understand that posing a risk factor doesn’t mean that you will definitely get the condition. A risk factor simply increases the chances of contracting a condition when compared to the individuals without them.

On the other hand, not posing a risk factor doesn’t mean that the individual won’t contract the condition at all.