By the Creaking of My Thumbs Osteoarthritis in the thumb is the most common form of arthritis that affects the hands. This joint normally allows you to pinch, pivot, and swivel your thumb for hundreds of tasks every day. Causes of Thumb Arthritis The cartilage can wear away in any joint, bringing about osteoarthritis. Injury or trauma to the joint may have occurred at some point, such as a fracture in a metacarpal bone or developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Initial treatment options involve exercises, application of ice, medications, splinting, or steroid injections. If these methods do not relieve pain and improve function, the joint may need to be reconstructed using surgery. As with any form of arthritis, it is important to talk to your doctor before treating your condition, especially before taking any medications. OTC medications that can help with pain include acetaminophen (Tylenol), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and supplements.