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Do you have osteoarthritis at the base of your thumb?

Recruitment for this study has now ended.  Thank you very much to everyone who volunteered for the study. 

Management of Thumb Osteoarthritis (MOTO) study 

In this study, we want to test a study design where you are randomly assigned to either standard normal care (education, advice and general exercise) for your thumb base osteoarthritis, or normal standard care plus an additional non-drug, non-surgical treatment.

To be eligible you meet all the following criteria:

  • You have been diagnosed with thumb base osteoarthritis OR you have had pain or problems at the base of your thumb on most days for at least 1 month in the past year with no other diagnosis.
  • You have had some pain or problems in the last 4 weeks
  • Must be at least 40 years of age
  • You do not have rheumatoid arthritis or any other problems affecting your hands

You will receive a $20 petrol voucher for each of the 3 assessments you attend, to help reimburse any costs. 

You will be asked to complete 3 assessment sessions, an X-ray of your hand, ultrasound imaging of your hand (only for first 8 people able to attend specified time slots) and a 4-week intervention programme.

Total time commitment: 5 hours, over 6 months.

If you live in Dunedin or Invercargill, please contact the Clinical Research Administrator at the University of Otago School of Physiotherapy.


Email: or Phone: 0800 687 489. 

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Northern B Health and Disability Ethics Committee (HDEC). Reference: 18/NTB/240

Previous research results

“My thumb’s the captain of the ship” – a qualitative study of the impact of thumb base osteoarthritis

Thumb base OA has a significant impact on all aspects of a person’s well-being and this is largely driven by pain. If you'd like to read more about the results of our previous study looking at people's experiences of Thumb base OA see our dedicated summary. 

Further resources for people with osteoarthritis

Arthritis specific

Arthritis New Zealand

A national voluntary organisation which represents the interests of those with arthritis. Information on the condition and its intervention.

Arthritis Research UK

Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions can affect all parts of the body, in different ways, for different people. Many of these conditions cause pain.

Physiotherapy resources 

Physiotherapy New Zealand

Physiotherapy New Zealand is a vital, stable, effective organisation providing advocacy, education, information and services.

Hand Therapy New Zealand

Hand Therapy New Zealand is the only professional association in NZ representing registered Hand Therapists. Find your nearest registered hand therapist.