Recent diagnosis OA in left hand thumb joint

Hi there

i am a midwife, after months now of pain I have been diagnosed with moderate OA .

i am/was being treated for tendinitis originally, I think this has improved currently seeing physio set up through work, who insisted I got an X-ray which this week diagnosed my OA

my physio now working on the area to stengthen ligaments around area, as I’m struggling currently to hold weight etc. also referral made to consultant hand specialist and I’m on waiting list.

I have seen Gp who gave me steroid injections but physio think they were in wrong place ! Therefore she feels this will be an option through my referral, they can do in right place ! Can’t have another until April time anyway so she feels seeing her best form of treatment for now. My physio also said don’t panic at the moment re my job as it could be a flair up and it may improve.

occ health and my boss think it’s just tendinitis currently, I have not shared this new information as I’ve only just found out, trying to come to terms with it.

occ health concluded after a phone call to remain off call until situation improves, I am to keep my boss updated. That was before this diagnosis.

Worries I won’t be able to do my job! One of the aspects of my job is being on call to deliver babies, deal with emergency situations etc. I have currently come off call, as I didn’t feel safe and have a duty of care to those I care for and my colleagues.

part of my job role as a community midwife is to be on call. I love my role in community and don’t want to give up …not sure where I stand. Worried my situation will get worse. How long can my employer by law support me in my current role adapting it ?? I feel confident in my physio so trying to stay positive. That my recent injury causing tendinitis has caused a flair up. I have to be patient I’m told, not to look too far down the line. Not sure if my immediate boss is going to be sympathetic ! Not sure who to talk too, or what to do next ?

I struggle to take anti-inflammatory drugs , my stomach doesn’t like it. Wearing splints, supports etc which do help when I’m in clinic. So that’s a positive.

appreciate any advice re employment within nhs, what my next move should be. Very upset , I’m 46 and concerned about my future.

with kindest regards



  • Hello @Lou46, welcome to the Online Community, it's lovely to have you here.

    I see that you are concerned about how your recent osteoarthritis diagnosis could affect your job as a community midwife. Here's a link that might be useful to you, it lists a few organisations and resources to do with disabilities and employment:

    And the below link includes some tips for managing osteoarthritis affecting the hands:

    Please do continue to engage in the Online Community, it's good to talk :)

    Best wishes, Sarah (moderator)

  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 406

    Hi Lou46

    I have arthritis in both thumbs I worked in the admin side as had to stop on the clinical side as I was a phlebotomist and I too had to put the patients first made me very anxious I use heat and cold therapy mostly made my own treatment I have hand splints and a new thing tens glove which you can buy yourself or get from pain clinic also use a stress ball just to keep my hands moving hope some hints help

    take care 😊

  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 441

    @Lou46 I do what @Jona does, I have freezing gel in cotton wraps to relieve inflammation & pain in hands thumb wrist & elbow. Occasionally cold water spray over affected limbs in shower. A 5min cold spray gives me 2hrs of relief. The gels extend relief to whole night.

    I have also taken up adding a 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric to my food, together with italian flavouring which also seems to help.

    Ultimately protecting the joints is essential.

  • Dear Lou46

    Thank you for your post on the forum. I am so sorry to hear about your condition and that you have been so worried about your future and feel so upset. I see that Sarah has responded to your post with our information about your work rights and information about managing osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist. It is positive that you are seeing a physiotherapist and that you are trying to stay positive. I would like to encourage you to call us here on the helpline. We are available from 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday and our number is 0800 5200 520 where you can talk through your concerns in confidence with one of our helpline team. It can feel very worrying when you are concerned about the future. It is good that you find wearing splints and supports helpful and positive that you are seeing a physiotherapist who can help you in managing the condition.


    It can feel daunting talking to your employer about your arthritis. However talking to your employer should lead to you getting support to help you. Having arthritis or a related condition means that you're entitled to support from your employers to help you do your job to the best of your abilities and in a comfortable and safe environment, which won't make your health worse. These rights are set out in the Equality Act 2010, and in the Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland.

    You have options and rights, and it's important to understand and explore fully what they are, so that you get the right support you are entitled to, which can help you do your job to the best of your ability and help you manage your condition. If you ever feel that you're not getting fair treatment, or if you need advice, remember that you're not alone. There is help and support available from different organisations. These include the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) who can offer advice. The links for these organisations are below.


    Having a healthy diet and lifestyle, pacing yourself and exercising regularly, will help you manage your condition, We have information on Diet and Exercise in the links below.

    You may find the following pages on our website helpful:  

    Exercises for the fingers, hands and wrists

    Eating well with arthritis

    You may also find the following general information from other organisations useful. We have no control over the contents of these resources and are unable to guarantee their suitability for you, but we hope they’re helpful:

    Citizens Advice Bureau

    Equality, Advisory and Support Service


    I hope that this information is helpful.

    Best Wishes

    Dawn Smith Helpline Advisor