I've heard that a damaged joint can sometimes become arthritic. Could I avoid arthritis in the base of my thumb if I follow my doctor's advice to have my injured thumb ligaments rebuilt?

A procedure to weave sections of nearby tendons through and around the bones of the thumb shows promise in delaying, and possibly preventing, thumb joint arthritis.

This form of surgery is best used when the main thumb joint is mildly loose but not yet arthritic. When arthritis is present other surgical procedures may be recommended. When these guidelines are used, ligament reconstruction surgery appears to keep the joint from eventually becoming arthritic. In a recent study, follow up X-rays taken as many as 17 years after this type of surgery showed no signs of thumb arthritis.