What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA is an autoimmune disorder characterized by chronic inflammation, typically affecting the small joints in your hands as well as your feet. This condition isnt caused by wear and tear, but rather it occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own bodys tissues. Specifically, it targets the lining of your joints, leading to painful swelling that can cause severe joint problems.
Symptoms of RA include:
- Stiffness in the morning that may last for hours
- Tender, warm and swollen joints
- Rheumatoid nodules, firm bumps of tissue under the skin on your arms
- Fever, fatigue and weight loss.
In its early stages, RA often affects your smaller joints first, especially the ones that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet. As it progresses, these symptoms usually spread to wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders.
In some instances, RAs inflammation and swelling can actually cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Although there isnt a cure for RA, there are medications that reduce joint inflammation to relieve pain and slow joint damage. If you have RA, your rheumatologist may recommend occupational or physical therapy so you can learn to protect your joints and keep them flexible. If RA severely damages joints, surgery may be necessary.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Hand
Many different types of arthritis can affect the hand. If you have any type of hand arthritis, you may notice joint pain and:
- Swelling in your wrists, fingers, and/or knuckles
- Redness and warmth in the skin over your wrist and knuckle
- Nodes or bony growths at or near the affected joints of the hands
- Symptoms that are worse in the morning or after lots of activity
Read more about Recognizing Osteoarthritis in the Hand
Carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause symptoms that are worse in the morning, so that is not necessarily a distinguishing symptom.
People who have autoimmune arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, may also feel tired and/or unwell.
Hand Exercises To Ease Arthritis Pain
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Arthritis wears away at the cartilage of a joint, which is the cushioning material between bones.
This can cause inflammation and irritation of the synovial lining, which produces the synovial fluid that helps protect and lubricate the joint.
When arthritis affects the joints of the hands, it can cause pain and stiffness. That pain can get worse whenever you use your hand a lot for repetitive tasks.
For example, typing on a computer keyboard or gripping utensils in the kitchen can cause discomfort. You may also lose strength in your hands.
Weakness in your hands can make it hard to do even the simplest everyday tasks, such as opening jars.
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Reducing The Strain On Your Hands And Wrists
We use our hands a lot in daily life. If you have osteoarthritis in your hands or wrists, taking some time to think about how you use them, and how you could reduce the strain on them, can bring great benefits. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your hands, just that you should think about ways of using them differently.
It may be helpful to see an occupational therapist or hand therapist, who will be able to offer a lot of useful advice on this. But many people discover for themselves different ways of doing things that help to ease the strain on their joints. Examples include:
- using gadgets such as electric tin openers or tools with softer, chunkier handles that don’t need such a tight grip
- using a backpack or shopping trolley to avoid carrying heavy bags in your hands
- taking more frequent breaks from tasks that put more strain on your joints or switching between harder and easier jobs
- using both hands for some of the tasks that you normally do one-handed
- having taps or door handles changed for those that are easier to use
- looking out for easy-to-handle fastenings when choosing clothing or shoes.
Find out more about looking after your joints.
Hand Osteoarthritis Home Remedies
These home treatments can help:
- Exercises. Your doctor or physical therapist can show you what to do to improve strength and range of motion and to ease pain.
- Assistive devices. Special pens, kitchen utensils, and other tools with big grips may be easier to use.
- Ice or heat. Ice may reduce swelling and pain. Heat, like a warm washcloth or a paraffin bath, can loosen stiff joints.
- Skin treatments. Medicated creams can give relief when you rub them on sore joints. Gels with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also help.
- Supplements. Many people take glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for OA. Researchers are still looking into whether they help. Ask your doctor if they’re OK to try.
Also Check: What Helps Lower Back Arthritis
How Can I Protect My Sore Hands
Here are some ways to protect the joints in your hands:
- Take notice of pain it can serve as a warning that your joints are being overworked. Rather than giving up an activity altogether, try taking regular rests during the activity and learning ways to manage pain. You will usually find you can still do the things you enjoy without discomfort.
- Use larger, stronger joints for example, carry your shopping bags over your shoulder rather than in your hands.
- Spread the load over several joints try carrying things with two hands.
- Reduce the effort you have to put in there is a wide range of labour-saving tools and equipment available. Buy pre-cut vegetables and meat to make cooking easier.
- Avoid gripping things tightly find out about gadgets that can make gripping and holding objects easier.
- See an occupational therapist to learn more ways to make daily tasks easier and take pressure off your joints.
- Visit an Independent Living Centre. These centres have a wide range of tools and equipment on display. You can get advice, including where to purchase equipment, in person or over the phone. Occupational therapists are also available at the centres to provide advice about equipment. Although you can drop in at anytime, it is preferred that you call the telephone enquiry service beforehand.
What Are The Early Signs Of Arthritis In The Hands
The early symptoms of arthritis may vary depending on several factors such as the type of arthritis, age of the individual and which joint is involved.
Some of the early signs and symptoms of hand arthritis include
- Stiffness in the joints, especially in the morning
- Pain or ache in the affected area
- Swelling at the affected site
- The skin over the affected joint that may appear red and inflamed
- Loss of function of the involved joint or muscle
- A grating sensation or popping sound when the joint moves
- Loss of muscle mass at the affected site
- Presence of small, bony bump-like swellings on the hand
- The skin over the affected joint may be warm to the touch
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Deformities in the affected hands and fingers
- Fever, if the arthritis is due to an infection
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What Are The Best Treatments For Arthritis In The Hands
November 19, 2019 By Alex Hirsch
Arthritis can be disabling, especially when it is in the hands and fingers. It can prevent you from carrying out normal day-to-day activities such as work duties and preparing meals.
Arthritis is a common disease that causes pain and stiffness within joints, including the hand. Appropriate treatment will depend on the severity of the symptoms, but they can include medications, therapy, lifestyle adjustments, and surgery.
Explain The Pain Is It Osteoarthritis Or Rheumatoid Arthritis
If opening jars becomes more difficult because of painful hands, or if climbing stairs produces pain in your knees, “arthritis” is often the first thing that comes to mind. The two most common forms of arthritisosteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritiscan cause similar aches and pains, but there are a few key differences between them. For example:
Onset. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage wears away. Pain occurs when bone rubs against bone. This type of arthritis pain tends to develop gradually and intermittently over several months or years.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis affecting 27 million Americans. Many people believe it’s a crippling and inevitable part of growing old. But things are changing. Treatments are better, and plenty of people age well without much arthritis. If you have osteoarthritis, you can take steps to protect your joints, reduce discomfort, and improve mobility all of which are detailed in this report. If you don’t have osteoarthritis, the report offers strategies for preventing it.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an inflammatory condition in which your immune system attacks the tissues in your joints. It causes pain and stiffness that worsen over several weeks or a few months. And joint pain isn’t always the first sign of rheumatoid arthritissometimes it begins with “flu-like” symptoms of fatigue, fever, weakness, and minor joint aches.
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Dr Hilary Explains Benefit Of Arthritis Drugs Tocilizumab And Sarilumab
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The hand and wrist have multiple small joints that work together to help you get by you use them to type, write, tie a shoelace and grip onto shopping bags. However, untreated arthritis can lead to difficulty. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons pointed out that inflammation is the common denominator of arthritis. In healthy joints, smooth and slippery tissue called cartilage covers the end of the bones.
When To See A Doctor
Hand and wrist pain often gets better with things you can do at home.
However, youll need to visit your GP surgery if:
- your pain isnt getting better after treatment at home for two weeks
- the pain is getting worse
- the pain keeps returning
- the pain is stopping you from doing your everyday activities
- your hands are stiff and swollen, particularly in the mornings and these feelings dont get better after half an hour
- as well as being swollen and stiff, your hands are warm and red
- you also feel generally unwell, especially if you have a high temperature
- you have ongoing tingling, numbness or weakness in the hands or fingers.
Its important to get urgent medical attention, if:
- you think youve broken a bone
- you have extreme pain
- any part of your hand, wrist or fingers is a funny shape or colour
- you have lost the feeling of part or all of your hand
- there was a snap, grinding or popping noise when you injured your hand or wrist
- you cant move your hand, wrist or fingers properly.
If you have ongoing hand and wrist pain or a specific condition affecting the hand and wrist it could be helpful to see a hand therapist. These are healthcare professionals with expertise in treating conditions affecting the hand and wrist. Your GP, rheumatology department or orthopaedic department could refer you to one.
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How To Get Rid Of Arthritis In Fingers
Arthritis of the fingers can be quite uncomfortable, causing symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. These symptoms make hand motions like grasping and pinching difficult, which restricts a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two types of arthritis that most commonly affect the finger joints. Depending on which type of arthritis affects your finger joints, you may experience additional symptoms.
Thankfully, numerous remedies can help alleviate the discomfort from arthritis of the fingers, from hand exercises to help strengthen your fingers to over-the-counter and prescription pain medications and surgical treatments.
What Is Arthritis Of The Hand
Arthritis is a disease that attacks the tissues of your joints. A joint is where two bones meet. Arthritis can attack the lining of your joint or the cartilage, the smooth covering at the ends of bones. Eventually the cartilage breaks down, the ends of your bones become exposed, rub against each other and wear away. You have many joints in your hand, therefore its a common site for arthritis to happen.
Arthritis of the hand causes pain and swelling, stiffness and deformity. As arthritis progresses, you cant use your hands to manage everyday tasks as you once could.
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What Can I Do To Decrease Hand Arthritis Symptoms
Jul 15, 2013 | Geriatrics, Health Tips, Occupational Therapy, Orthopedics, Rehab Medicine |
Osetoarthritis involves degeneration of a joint or joints due to excessive wear and tear. While OA can affect joints throughout the body, it commonly affects those in the hand. People with hand OA often report feeling generalized pain and morning stiffness in the joints. In regard to appearance, people with hand OA often have enlarged knuckles and excessive bone growth on the sides of the fingers.
Although hand arthritis symptoms may be quite severe, there are many simple remedies that can help one decrease pain and stiffness.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is on the palm side of your wrist, surrounded by bones and ligaments. It protects the main nerve to your hand, known as the median nerve, as well as the nine tendons that bend your fingers. The median nerve provides sensation to the palm side of your thumb and fingers, except your little finger. It also provides nerve signals to move the muscles around the base of your thumb.
Carpal tunnel syndrome stems from anything that crowds, irritates or compresses the median nerve, such as a wrist fracture, swelling or inflammation. This condition causes tingling and numbness in your fingers and hand, often when youre holding a steering wheel, phone or newspaper. This sensation can even wake you up from sleeping and may extend from your wrist up your arm.
When carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers experience this sensation, they often shake out their hands to relieve this symptom. This disorder usually starts gradually, with the numbness and tingling coming and going. As it progresses, the numb feeling may become constant.
With carpal tunnel syndrome, you may also feel weakness in your hand and have a tendency to drop things youre holding. This symptom can be caused by the numbness or weakness of the thumbs pinching nerve, which is controlled by the median nerve.
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What Are The Signs Of Arthritis In The Hands
May 19, 2021
Achy, swollen hands? Stiffness in your wrists? Its common to assume these are symptoms of arthritis. While 40 million Americans suffer from arthritis, its far less frequent in the hands than people expect. Instead, what many mistake for arthritis is actually tendonitis. Let’s look at the difference between arthritis and other conditions, risk factors and treatments.
What Type Of Hand Surgery Is Most Commonly Performed On The Specific Joints Affected By Arthritis
- Base of the thumb: Where your thumb and wrist join. Common surgical options include removing part or all of one of the trapezium bone , tendon transfer or joint fusion.
- Knuckles : Joint replacement is almost always considered for this repair. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause serious damage and disability to your knuckles.
- Second joint of your finger : Osteoarthritis commonly causes stiffness and loss of motion. Joint replacement or fusion are considered for these joints. Because you use these joints frequently, there is a chance your implant could wear out. In this case, your provider may recommend further surgery.
- Top of finger joint : Joint fusion is commonly used to treat arthritis in this joint.
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Soak And Exercise Hands In Warm Water
Many people with hand OA report that soaking their hands in warm water in the morning assists in decreasing the stiffness.
Begin by filling a clean sink or large basin with warm water.
If swelling is also noted, add approximately ¼ cup of Epsom salt to the water to assist in decreasing the swelling.
While soaking the hands, gently perform range-of-motion exercises, such as opening and closing the fingers and spreading the fingers apart and then back together.
If you notice hand stiffness during a time when soaking is not an option, you can perform the same range-of motion exercises under running water.
Is My Hand Pain Caused By Arthritis Or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Before you can treat your hand pain, you need to know whats causing it. Two of the most common causes of hand pain are arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. How can you tell if you have oneor bothof these conditions?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of several conditions that either results from or shares symptoms with inflammatory arthritis.Conditions Related to Inflammatory Arthritis
Both arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome can affect your ability to do everyday activities, such as getting dressed, driving, and using your phone and TV remote. Both can be triggered by activity or repetitive motion. To distinguish between the two conditions, doctors look for certain signs and symptoms.
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When Hand Or Wrist Pain May Mean Arthritis
Learn about the various causes of hand or wrist pain, including different kinds of arthritis.
Many forms of arthritis and related conditions that affect different parts of the hands. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling or numbness in the wrist and fingers. Pitted nails, painful ulcers or thickened skin that makes bending the fingers difficult may also occur. Here are some diseases that affect the hands.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Also known as wear and tear arthritis, OA is a chronic condition caused by the breakdown of the cartilage, which cushions the ends of the bones where they meet to form joints. This breakdown causes the bones to rub together, causing stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement.
In hand OA, the joints most commonly affected by OA are the wrists, the joints at the base of the thumb, the middle finger joints and the joints closest to fingernails. In the finger joints, OA can lead to the formation of nodes .
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by a faulty immune system that primarily attacks joints . The result can be joint pain, swelling, inflammation and loss of function. RA commonly affects the wrist and finger joints. RA usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body . If untreated, the disease can cause joint deformities that make it difficult to use the hands.