Arthritis refers to the inflammation of the various joints in the body. Arthritis can affect the knees, elbows, and wrists of the patients; however, the most commonly affected areas of the body include the hands and the fingers.
Arthritis tends to affect about 14% of the world’s adult population. Other than that, it has to be noted that women tend to be much more likely to be afflicted with arthritis compared to men. Women are five times more likely to suffer from arthritis in fingers compared to men. This is because women tend to be involved in various types of work that involve their use of hands and fingers more than men. (1) Typically, the two joints that are most commonly affected by arthritis include metacarpophalangeal and interphalangeal joints.
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Arthritis and Fingers
It has to be noted that arthritis in fingers is something that can be described as being secondary and the reason for that is that the arthritis in fingers tends to occur because of another disease that the patient might have. For example, people afflicted with such problems as various kinds of metabolic disorders, as well as infectious and rheumatic diseases tend to be much more at risk of developing arthritis in fingers. This type of arthritis can have some extremely debilitating effects on the patient, as the inflammation in the hands and fingers can be quite painful and severe, leading to the person not being able to use his or her hands or performing everyday normal routine work. (2)
Some of the symptoms of arthritis in fingers include unbearable pain in the joints and the feeling of increased local temperature in the area. Patients are encouraged to visit the doctor as soon as possible and to start getting treatment for the ailment immediately.
What Causes Arthritis in Fingers?
Several things can cause or trigger arthritis in fingers. One of the most common reasons for arthritis in fingers is infectious disease. It has been noted that many people tend to develop arthritis after being afflicted by a sore throat. If the treatment for sore throat is not conducted properly and if there is some complications, people can end up developing arthritis. Several diseases, like sexually transmitted illnesses, diabetes, psoriasis, lupus,
Several diseases, like sexually transmitted illnesses, diabetes, psoriasis, lupus, tuberculosis and gout can all causes arthritis. (3) Other than that, if a person has a particular kind of a job that involves the use of his or her fingers and hands, such as professional tennis players, seamstresses, jewelers, etc., such people are also much more susceptible to getting afflicted with arthritis. Moreover, arthritis tends to have a genetic component, which means that if people in a person’s family have arthritis, the person would also be much more likely than average people to have arthritis as well.
Several additional risk factors also exist that would aid in the development of arthritis in fingers. If a person is overweight and obese, it puts a load on the joints because of the additional weight that the person has. Age is another factor, as older people are much more likely to develop arthritis because the cartilage tends to wear out as one gets older. Excessive alcohol consumption as well as nicotine from smoking can also cause arthritis in fingers. Many researchers have also noted how stress plays an important role in the development of arthritis in fingers.
Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis in Fingers
Arthritis in fingers can be both acute as well as chronic. Acute arthritis develops suddenly and the patients also exhibit fever, along with swelling and severe pain in the joints. Chronic arthritis is one that develops over several days. It is not easy to depict the early signs of chronic arthritis; however, as people start to face more problems with their joints over time, it is something that can be classified as being arthritis.
With regards to arthritis in fingers, some of the most commonly exhibited signs and symptoms include pain in the joints of one or more fingers. (4) This pain can be moderate to severe and it sometimes be debilitating enough to hinder the people from doing routine work, such as washing the dishes, cooking, etc. There can also be stiffness in the joints that starts developing a year or two after the initial symptoms of arthritis. Fingers may also become inflamed and there can be patches of redness and rashes on the skin above the joints that are affected.
Types of Arthritis in Fingers
Some of the different types of arthritis in fingers can be infectious or septic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis in fingers, purulent arthritis, osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis, and gouty arthritis. (5) Several other types of arthritis can also be there, such as one that affects only the middle finger, or one that only affects a certain joint in the fingers, etc.
It is extremely important to diagnose the correct type of arthritis before treatment is prescribed. Proper and exact diagnosis requires interviews of the patient, as well as physical inspection. Doctors can look for various kinds of deformities that might be present in the joints, as well as other telltale signs, like cysts under the skin and deformities in the joints. (3) Some blood and urine tests can also be conducted to diagnose arthritis in fingers. Radiography, including X-rays, can also work to provide a very detailed and proper picture of the problems.
Treatment for Arthritis in Fingers
Treatment options for arthritis in fingers are restricted towards managing the illness more than anything else. It has to be noted that there is no permanent cure of arthritis and much of the options rely upon alleviating the negative symptoms associated with arthritis. (6) Furthermore, it is important to start treatment of arthritis as early as possible, otherwise if the disease develops more, it can be extremely difficult to treat.
One type of treatment is through the use of antibiotics as well as corticosteroids. Various types of analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – such as ibuprofen – are also used to treat the inflammation and joint pain.