Trapeziometacarpal joint osteoarthritis: key statistical data
published in January - February 2018 - in Il Fisioterapista - issue n.1
Massimo Bitocchi

Objective: To assess the statistical data reported in the literature regarding trapeziometacarpal joint osteoarthrosis.
Introduction: The ability to oppose the fingers and thumb is made possible primarily by the anatomy and biomechanics of the trapeziometacarpal joint. It allows a high degree of mobility, but this fact can favor instability of the joint, which can lead to osteoarthritis. The etiology of trapeziometacarpal joint osteoarthrosis has yet to be definitively established; many investigators have theorized that ligamentous laxity is the real cause. The treatment solutions may be surgical or conservative. While the outcomes of surgical techniques have been well studied, reports on the efficacy of conservative treatment interventions are mostly found in the ‘gray literature’.
Method: To this end, we searched the current literature for relevant studies, without employing a specific methodological criterion for identifying and analyzing the literature.
Results: No difference emerged between neoprene splints and custom-made thermoplastic splints with a mean difference in the meta-analysis of -0.01 [-0.43, 0.40]. There was moderate to high evidence for the beneficial effects on pain of multimodal physiotherapy and occupational therapy-related interventions (-3.17 [-5.63, -0.71]), while there was only narrative evidence without statistical significance for their effect on function (-0.66 [-1.55, 0.23]).
Conclusion: Multimodal interventions with regard to physical therapy and occupational therapy seem to be effective in treating pain in patients with trapeziometacarpal joint osteoarthrosis. The use of neoprene splints and custom-made thermoplastic splints may result in similar pain reduction. There is only narrative but not statistical evidence for the effectiveness of single interventions on pain.