Preventing And Managing Arthritis
Exercise: When it comes to arthritis prevention, exercise plays a major role. When your joints are hurting, the last thing most people want to do is exercise. And yet, exercising, when done right with proper warm ups and cool downs, can be an effective way to help maintain joint health. Regular activity combined with a balanced diet can also help you lose weight, which puts less strain on your joints. Your doctor, or physical therapist, can also provide you with specific exercises to help keep your joints limber and strong, including those important smaller joints of your wrists, hands, and fingers.
Diet: Did you know that your diet can help you avoid arthritis flare-ups? An anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce soreness and strengthen bones and joints. A balanced diet, rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean meats, and nuts can provide a firm foundation for overall health too. Tart cherries, strawberries, and raspberries all have known anti-inflammatory properties. They are also high in micronutrients and antioxidants. There are even some spices, such as the yellow spice turmeric, that have especially potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Appropriate Medications: your doctor may prescribe medications which can help you to manage the damaging effects of chronic inflammation. He or she may also recommend targeted injections or other treatments for arthritis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Hands
Early symptoms include:
- Dull or burning joint pain, appearing hours or a day after increased use of your hands.
- Morning pain and stiffness in your hand.
- Swollen joints in your hand.
If you’ve had arthritis in your hand for some time:
- Symptoms are present more often.
- Pain may change from dull ache to sharp pain.
- Pain may wake you up at night.
- Pain may cause you to change the way you use your hand.
- Tissue surrounding your affected joint may become red and tender to the touch.
- Youll feel grating, grinding, cracking or clicking when bending your fingers.
- Your fingers cant fully open and close.
- Small bony nodules form on the middle joint of your fingers or at the top joints of your fingers .
- Your finger joints become large and deformed and abnormally bent, leaving your hands weak and less able to accomplish everyday tasks.
How Is Arthritis In The Hand Treated
Treatment options depend on the type of arthritis, stage of arthritis, how many joints are affected, your age, activity level, the hand affected and other existing medical conditions.
Goals of treatment are to:
- Improve mobility and function.
- Increase your quality of life.
- In the case of rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, to slow the progression of the disease.
Treatment options include splinting/bracing, medications, injections, non-drug approaches and surgery.
Splits or braces support and protect the affected joint, reduce deformity, provide joint stability, lessen strain, and promote proper joint alignment. Your healthcare provider, occupational therapist or hand therapist will discuss splinting/bracing options, how and when to wear them and how long to wear them .
Steroids reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Steroids are usually used if medications dont control inflammation or if the inflammation is limited to a few joints. Injections are administered directly into the affected joint. Because steroids can weaken tendons and ligaments, injections are repeated only a few times.
Other management strategies
A complete treatment plan for arthritis of the hand includes these additional approaches:
If nonsurgical treatments no longer provide relief and the cartilage at the ends of your bones has worn away, surgery may be an option. There are several approaches:
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What Are Some Tips For Arthritis
Studies show that a variety of nutrients may help ease arthritis symptoms. Foods rich in vitamin C, especially fruits and vegetables, may help. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and fish oil, may also help relieve pain. Experts say its best to focus on healthy foods rather than on single nutrients.
Why The Hand Can Be Affected By Arthritis
The hand can develop arthritis because:
- It contains a lot of joints. The hand and wrist are formed by several and different bones that connect to create a joint.
- All the fingers have three joints except the thumb, which has two. One or more may be affected.
- Ligaments connect and offer the bones support. Tendons also are connective tissues that attach the muscles to bones for movement of the bones.
With hand arthritis, any of these vital parts may be affected additional to:
- The base of the thumb where it meets the wrist.
- The top finger joint that is closest to the nails.
- The middle joints of the fingers.
- Small bony nodules may form at the top of the fingers or on the middle joint of your fingers.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Hand Surgery
Recovery time depends on many factors, including the severity of your condition, type of surgery you had, the skill of your surgeon and your compliance with therapy. Most people can return to their activities about three months after joint reconstruction surgery. Your team of caregivers can give you the best estimate of your particular recovery time.
Foods To Eat And 7 To Avoid For Arthritis
If you think arthritis is something you won’t have to worry about until you’re much older, think again. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 54 million Americans are affected by arthritis, and 60 percent of them are between the ages of 18 to 64. In fact, arthritis is a leading cause of disability, with 8 million adults unable to work because of their arthritis.
While many often think of arthritis as a single condition, it’s actually an umbrella term for a number of conditions affecting the joints. The most common forms include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. According to the CDC, “symptoms of arthritis are pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling in or around the joints.” While symptoms can vary from person to person and day to day, one in four Americans with arthritis experiences severe joint pain. Arthritis often goes hand in hand with other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes and can make these conditions harder to manage.
Arthritis has many different causes and just as many options for managing symptoms. Diet can play a major role in either minimizing or exacerbating symptoms, so if you have some form of arthritis, it’s important to choose the foods and beverages you consume wisely.
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Ways To Manage Symptoms Of Arthritis In Your Hands
Quincy AdamArthritis Lifestyle
Both types of arthritis can cause pain and stiffness in your hands. Fortunately, there are various options for managing arthritis symptoms in your hands.
They range from simple lifestyle changes to complex surgeries. Your physician will help you decide which options are best for you.
Try Arthritis Assistive Devices
Today, many kinds of tools and gadgets are available in designs made to minimize the strain on joints, especially fingers and hands. Examples include:
- Ergonomic computer keyboards. Designed so that your hands and wrists are aligned to minimize pinching of the nerves in your wrist, these keyboards have been shown to reduce pressure within the carpal tunnel, which carries the nerves that control the hand. Some ergonomic keyboards are adjustable, allowing you to find the position thatâs most comfortable for you.
- Doorknob extenders. These clever devices eliminate the need for closing your hand around the knob — something that can be painful if you have arthritis in your hands or fingers.
- Book holders. If your work involves consulting books or manuals, desktop book holders are a great way to minimize strain on your hands. Another new option is eBook readers, which are typically much lighter than books and can be propped up in stands on your desk.
- Pencil grips. If you use a pencil at work, buy a pencil grip, which wraps around the shaft of the pencil, creating a much wider grip. Some pens come with built-in grips.
- Ergonomically designed implements. Many tools, from scissors to screwdrivers, come in varieties designed to minimize joint pain. Because no two people with arthritis are exactly alike, itâs wise to try out several models in order to choose the one thatâs best for you.
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How Exercises Help Prevent Arthritis
- Helping in weight loss. Exercises and workouts, when done consistently over time, help reduce weight. This, in turn, reduces the stress on hip and knee joints, reducing the risk of arthritis.
- Supporting healthy cartilage. Joint cartilage needs motion and some stress to stay healthy. Synovial fluid, stored in the cartilage, is excreted whenever the joint is used to deliver nutrients and lubrication. It also reduces inflammation of the joint.
- Reducing pain. Exercise strengthens muscles, which then provide better support and stability to joints. This stability helps prevent bones from dislocating, and protect them from impact and friction, therefore reducing pain. Endorphins released by the body during exercise are the bodys natural painkillers.
- Increasing motion and function. Exercises keep the joints and muscles agile and flexible, increasing their range of motion. This also reduces the chances of stiff muscles, which can lead to arthritis.
- Increasing strength. Exercises increase the strength of muscles, which reduce the amount of stress that would have been placed on joints.
How Arthritis In The Hands Is Treated
If youre diagnosed with an inflammatory form of arthritis, you have more treatment options than someone with OA. While nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help manage the pain of both types of arthritis, the development of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and biologics has vastly improved the prognosis of those with inflammatory forms of arthritis by reducing inflammation and preventing further joint damage.
Cortisone injections can be useful for those with OA and conditions such as RA, though theyre usually used in patients whose inflammatory arthritis is limited to just one or two joints, Dr. Byram says. Injections of hyaluronic acid can be helpful for those with OA , but these are better for managing pain in larger joints like the knees rather than the hands.
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Broccoli Could Slow Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is considered a “wear and tear” condition. Over time, the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in a joint wears away, causing bones to rub against one another, leading to pain, stiffness, and inflammation. This can happen simply as a result of getting older or because of injuries or repeated stress on the joint. Women, heavier individuals, and people with certain genetic factors are also more likely to get osteoarthritis. While any joint can be affected, the knees, hips, spine, and hands are most vulnerable to cartilage damage .
According to a 2013 article published in Science Direct, research suggests that sulforaphane, a compound released when eating broccoli, can slow down the destruction of cartilage in joints. Sulforaphane is present in other cruciferous vegetables as well, including Brussels sprouts and cabbage, but is particularly concentrated in broccoli. This compound “blocks the enzymes that cause joint destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation.” Although these effects were demonstrated in both laboratory-grown tissues and in mice, the results are promising for humans.
Hand Exercises To Prevent Arthritis
Arthritis wears away at the joint’s cartilage, a cushioning material between bones causing inflammation and irritation of the synovial lining of the joints, which produces the synovial fluid that protects and lubricates the joints.There is increased pain and stiffness in the joints of the hands affected by arthritis. A non-invasive way to keep the joints flexible, improve mobility, and relieve arthritis pain is hand stretches and exercises. In addition, hand exercises for arthritis may strengthen the muscles that support the hand joints and help keep ligaments and tendons flexible, which improves hand function and mobility.Finally, hand strengthening exercises can increase the production of synovial fluid, which can also improve joint function.
Conclusively, if you are at risk of developing hand arthritis, pay attention to preventive measures to reduce the risk of developing it. If you already have arthritis, adopt the methods which can reduce the pain and alleviate the symptoms. There are also many over-the-counter joint pain relief creams that you can try, along with the various techniques mentioned above.
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Exercises For Arthritis In The Hands Fingers
While doctors can help patients by offering treatments ranging from medications to surgical procedures, patients themselves can also help relieve this pain by performing certain exercises.
Hand exercises can help with strength, flexibility and range of motion in the joints, as well as the supportive ligaments and tendons of the hands and fingers. This can also help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Before beginning, its important to know that it is normal to experience some mild aching after exercising. However, if discomfort lasts for more than a few hours, you should perform fewer repetitions next time. If the exercises make your symptoms worse, stop doing them and go see your doctor.
5 Daily Hand Exercises for Arthritis
Although these exercises are quite simple, they can make a noticeable difference in joint pain and inflammation. However, if you only do them occasionally, you may not notice an effect. Therefore, we recommend you make hand exercises a habit by doing them at the same time each day, as well as in the same order.
Do Simple Tasks Hands
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Changes In Surrounding Joints
In patients with advanced thumb base arthritis, the neighboring joints may become more mobile than normal.
Thumb extension deformity. This patient has lost mobility at the base of the thumb due to arthritis. The next joint closer to the tip of the thumb has become more mobile than normal to make up for the arthritic joint. Normally, the thumb does not come to a right angle with the rest of the hand.
Strengthen Joints With Easy Exercises
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Is It Arthritis In My Hand Or Tendonitis
Arthritis and tendonitis can mimic each other, so its important to understand the difference between the two. Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons in your hand due to an injury or repetitive motion, and the pain can come and go suddenly or last for a few days.
Arthritis, however, is inflammation of the joint due to degenerative joint disease. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common forms are osteoarthritis , when the protective cartilage in the joint breaks down, and rheumatoid arthritis , when immune system attacks the joints. Early symptoms of arthritis include painful hand joints, burning sensation and decreased functionality of the hand and/or wrist.
What Can I Do To Prevent Arthritis In My Hands
You may try to prevent arthritis in the hand joints, but you can still develop the disease. However, there are some ways to prevent arthritis in the hands and reduce the risk:
- Maintain a healthy weight to fight off osteoarthritis.
- Don’t smoke or quit smoking. It may reduce the risk of developing Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Try to avoid injury while playing sports and participating in recreational activities.
- Make sure to avoid injury at work. If the nature of your job requires a lot of pushing, pulling, and lifting heavy objects, use appropriate safety equipment.
- If you work on computers and your job demands a lot of typing, practice good posture. If possible, use a special keyboard, wrist cushion, or pad.
- The Arthritis Foundation recommends eating a balanced diet to prevent inflammation and improve joint symptoms.
- Reducing stress can help prevent flares and manage arthritis. Use stress-relieving techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and practicing gratitude.
- Exercise can help increase the production of synovial fluid in the joints, which can also improve joint function.
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