Table of Contents
Symptoms of arthritis in hands may (1) include:
- Pain when using hands over a prolonged period
- Swelling and inflammation the more the swelling the more difficult it is to use the joint
- Difficulty with precise motions like gripping and twisting, when opening jars or buckling seat belt
- Stiffness in the fingers, especially in patients who have rheumatoid arthritis in hands
- Numbness in fingers
- Warmth-joint is warm to touch
- Changes to the surrounding joints –for example, if thumb is inflamed fingers will be more mobile
- Looseness from loss of ligaments joints will appear larger from swelling and bone changes
- Grating and grinding (crepitation)from loss of cartilage
- Cysts lumps, or nodules, under the skin of the hands and on finger joints
Early diagnosis and treatment is the key. (3) The progress of joint damage sustained by osteoarthritis can usually be seen on X-rays. Doctors can utilize bone-density scan to help diagnose arthritis in hands an early stage even if the x-rays look normal.
Arthritis Affects You
Arthritis in hands and wrists can be painful and limit movement and participation in daily life, however, many treatments are available to reduce symptoms and help patients overcome their limitations. (4) There are many forms of arthritis in hands. Doctors can detect the onset of arthritis when the cartilage between the bones and the fluid lubricant decrease. With the decrease of tissue, there is inflammation and movement of the joints is painful. Rheumatoid arthritis causes the joint linings to swell and causes stiffness in the joints
Moreover, arthritis in hands is an ailment that results in degeneration of the joints
There are many types of arthritis osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most prevalent. The condition of arthritis in hands is a common cause of pain in the hand and wrist joints. (2) Osteoarthritis influences the ligaments present in the joints of the hands, while rheumatoid frequently influences the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
With osteoarthritis joints degenerated over time, causing pain and swelling around the joint area. For many people, stiff, aching joints are the first sign of osteoarthritis, a disease also characterized by the loss of tissue that lines and lubricates the joints. Osteoarthritis results in billions of dollars in health care costs as well as the cost to our economy of lost productivity. (5)
The second form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, is an autoimmune condition where the joints attack themselves and the surrounding connective tissue. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory malady and can influence.
Arthritis in Hands Treatment
Occupational and Physical Therapies for Arthritis in Hands
There is no cure for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis but many therapies exist for both conditions. (7)These include not only physical therapies that reduce stress on your hands and fingers, but also include arthritis in hand aids that make it easier to complete daily tasks such as opening a jar, opening a door, buttoning your shirt or belt and fastening your safety belt.
Treatments for Arthritis in Hands and Wrists
- Hot and Cold Therapy Short term relief is offered for joint pain. Hot and cold therapy works when hands are swollen and painful from arthritis. Cold packs can reduce swelling and numb joint pain. Other treatments that use heat to reduce swelling include disposable heat patches and heat rubs, or microwavable hot packs for aching hands without persistent inflammation; heat is a short-term pain reliever.
- Over the counter medications assist in the treatment of arthritis in hands. The pain in the nerves and joints of hands can be relieved a great deal with vitamin B complex vitamins and other supplements like glucosamine are believed to provide relief from arthritis in hands.
- Range-of-motion exercises to keep your hands nimble can ease symptoms of arthritis in hands and in the hands overall: These exercises can be performed up to ten times a day.
- Stay active physically as studies show being active promotes and maintains overall body health. Because of pain and stiffness in your hands you may want to give up activities but participating in moderate intensity fitness activities can have a positive impact
- Taking acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and other anti-inflammatory medication
- Cortisone injections which can be scheduled bimonthly will relieve your symptoms injecting Cortisone is injected directly into the joint for quick relief of pain and inflammation.
- Finally, there is the surgical option if the arthritis does not respond to other treatments or if pain becomes unbearable. Arthroplasty involves removing the joint that’s damaged and replacing it with silicone. Finger implants have been done but it’s difficult to replicate a regular range of motion. The best finger joint for surgery is the ring finger and the PIP or second joint. (6)
In summary, therapies consist of ways to ease the pain and swelling in your hands so you can carry out daily tasks without putting much pressure on your hands. Early diagnosis and treatment can help preserve your joints, as well as improve your ability to continue with your activities and decrease pain and stiffness. (3)
The Mayo Clinic recommends that individuals struggling with arthritis in hands perform range of motion exercises daily to prevent their joints from locking up and ease the pain during movement.
The Mayo Clinic also hosts a slideshow detailing a series of exercises that individuals with arthritis can use to cope with their arthritis. These exercises focus on joint flexibility. Thus, physical therapies include exercises can help in ease the pain that occurs due to arthritis in hands. (2)
Early diagnosis and treatment of arthritic hands will have an impact on your quality of life. Read the material about your condition and consult your physician.