Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

During a physical exam, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and look for noticeable swelling or lumps on your joints.

Your doctor may adjust the positions of the bones in your wrist joint, pressing on the base of the thumb while rotating the joint slightly. If this movement produces a grinding sound, or causes pain or a gritty feeling, it means the cartilage has worn down and the bones are rubbing against each other.

Imaging techniques, usually X-rays, can reveal bony projections that grow along the edges of bones (bone spurs), worn-down cartilage and loss of joint space — each indicating the presence of thumb arthritis.

June 19, 2012

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