Thursday, July 18, 2024

How To Diagnose Arthritis In Hands

Changes In Surrounding Joints

Arthritis In Hands – Critical Basics To Know If You Want To Be Pain Free

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.

Hand Osteoarthritis Causes And Risk Factors

Osteoarthritis was once thought to happen because of wear and tear on your joints. Doctors now know thereâs more to the story.

On the ends of your bones, there’s a layer of smooth material called cartilage. It helps cushion your joints and allows them to slide easily. But over time, the cartilage gets worn down. The bones rub against each other, causing the symptoms of OA. The wear and tear can also cause other tissues in the joint to make inflammatory cells, which damage it more.

Certain things can make you more likely to have hand OA:

  • Age. The older you are, the higher your odds.
  • Sex. Compared with men, women are twice as likely to get it.
  • Ethnicity. Rates are lower in African Americans.
  • Weight. Thinner people are less likely to get it than those who have obesity.
  • Injuries. This includes broken and dislocated bones.
  • Changes in your genes. Your parents might have passed down a higher chance of OA.
  • Joint problems. This includes infections, loose ligaments, overuse, and joints that arenât aligned the way they should be.

What causes flare-ups?

Causes Of Hand Arthritis

The term arthritis collectively refers to more than a hundred conditions and it may be inflammatory or mechanical. Arthritis that affects the hand or wrist may have more than one cause. It may result due to trauma. An injury over time may also cause hand arthritis. Fractures that damage joint surfaces and dislocations may also cause the development of arthritis. Post-traumatic arthritis is a kind of osteoarthritis.

Other risk factors for hand arthritis are

  • Age: after the age of fifty, you are at a more considerable risk of osteoarthritis. If you are between 35-50, you may develop rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Being a woman.
  • Having a job that puts repeated or excessive stress on the hand.

You May Like: Is Banana Good For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis Of The Hip

Osteoarthritis in your hips often causes difficulty moving your hip joints. For example, you may find it difficult to put your shoes and socks on or to get in and out of a car.

You’ll also usually have pain in the groin or outside the hip. This is often worse when you move the hip joints, although it can also affect you when you’re resting or sleeping.

Weight Management And Diet

Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Hand

Although the link between your weight and osteoarthritis of the hands may be less clear than for weight-bearing joints such as the knees, some research shows that being overweight increases inflammation and therefore pain. Therefore, if you have osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist, it still makes sense to try to maintain, or achieve, a healthy weight.

Recommended Reading: Are Bananas Bad For Arthritis

Types Of Arthritis Affecting The Hands

The hands can be affected by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Degenerative changes in cartilage cause osteoarthritis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis occurs due to an autoimmune condition. When your immune system attacks healthy tissue protecting the joints, you will have rheumatoid arthritis. You will experience redness, inflammation, and pain in the affected areas. Women are more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis than men, with those who smoke or obese being at a greater risk of acquiring rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis mainly starts its manifestation at the age of 40-60 years.

Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

If you have osteoarthritis in your knees, both your knees will usually be affected over time, unless it occurred as the result of an injury or another condition affecting only 1 knee.

Your knees may be most painful when you walk, particularly when walking up or down hills or stairs.

Sometimes, your knees may “give way” beneath you or make it difficult to straighten your legs. You may also hear a soft, grating sound when you move the affected joint.

Also Check: Are Eggs Bad For Psoriatic Arthritis

How Do Doctors Diagnose Hand Arthritis

Diagnosis of hand arthritis by a doctor may involve:

  • Detailed medical history: The doctor may ask questions about the patients symptoms including their onset and severity, any underlying health conditions, any history of injury or surgery and family history of any related health conditions. The doctor may also ask the patient if they are on any medications or supplements.
  • Physical examination: A thorough physical examination will be done to look for
  • Signs of arthritis in any other part of the body
  • Weakness of the affected joint and muscles
  • Tenderness
  • Any signs of injuries or trauma
  • Imaging studies: They are crucial because they help the doctor to see the condition of the involved bones, joint spaces and muscles. Imaging studies such as X-ray, computed tomography scan and magnetic resonance imaging may be done.
  • Blood tests: They may be done especially in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. Blood tests may also help the doctor know about the presence of infections or nutrient deficiencies that may contribute to the disease. Associated health conditions such as high serum uric acid levels and increased blood sugar levels may also be explored through blood tests.
  • Synovial fluid examination: This involves withdrawing a small amount of synovial fluid and examining it in the lab. This may reveal the presence of joint space infection or the presence of uric acid crystals .
  • How Arthritis Of The Hand Is Diagnosed

    Rheumatoid Arthritis: 3 Common Hand Findings in 150 seconds

    Your doctor will examine you and determine whether you have similar symptoms in other joints and assess the impact of the arthritis on your life and activities. The clinical appearance of the hands and fingers helps to diagnose the type of arthritis. X-rays will also show certain characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis, such as narrowing of the joint space, swelling and diminished bone density near the joints, and erosions of the bone. If your doctor suspects rheumatoid arthritis, he or she may request blood or other lab tests to confirm the diagnosis.

    Also Check: Is Eating Tomatoes Bad For Arthritis

    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.

    Don’t Miss: Is Eating Tomatoes Bad For Arthritis

    Maintain A Good Posture

    Especially if your job requires a lot of typing. If necessary, you may need to get yourself a special keyboard, a pad, or a wrist cushion. Keep your hands and fingers from being overworked. Rest as it is appropriate to prevent joint inflammation.

    Suggested article: How To Prevent Arthritis Arthritis Risk Factors and Its Prevention

    Is There A Test For Arthritis

    Arthritis Symptoms

    Your symptoms and medical history as well as an examination of your hand and wrist can help to diagnose arthritis. Often, X-rays of the hand and wrist will show signs of arthritis. If inflammatory arthritis or infection is suspected, additional tests may be needed to determine the case of the arthritis.

    Recommended Reading: Is Bee Pollen Good For Arthritis

    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.

    Tips For Preventing Arthritis

    There is no known cure for arthritis. In fact, most treatments for arthritis are aimed at early recognition and prevention. Genetics can increase your likelihood for developing arthritis, as can a strong family history of the disease. Women are also more prone to arthritis than men.

    You may try to prevent arthritis and still develop the disease. However, you can take actions to reduce your risk:

    • Maintain a healthy weight. This can help to fight off OA.
    • Dont smoke, or quit smoking. This may reduce your chance of developing RA.
    • Try to avoid injury when playing sports or participating in recreational activities.
    • If your job requires a lot of pushing, pulling, or lifting of heavy objects, take precautions to avoid injury to your joints.
    • If your job calls for a lot of typing, practice good posture. If necessary, get a special keyboard, wrist cushion, or pad.

    Recommended Reading: Best Treatment For Lower Back Arthritis

    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.

    Symptoms Of Arthritis In Hands May Include:

    Hand Arthritis & How to Treat It (with Dr. Suzanne Elton)
    • 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 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. 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.

    Don’t Miss: How To Relieve Arthritis Pain In Lower Back

    What Causes Arthritis In The Hands Or Wrist

    • Osteoarthritis: Mostly related to old age, it usually occurs in people over50 years old, but can occur in younger people as well. The cartilage thatcushions the joint softens and wears away. The bones then rub against oneanother causing hand, wrist or finger pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritisdevelops slowly and worsens over time.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis: This is the most common form of a group of disordersreferred to as inflammatory arthritis. Most often, rheumatoid arthritis startsin the foot and ankle and can affect multiple joints throughout the body. It issymmetrical, so it affects the same joint on both sides of the body. This is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks its own tissues.Immune cells attack the synovium covering the joint, causing it to swell. Overtime,the synovium invades and damages the bone and cartilage, as well as ligamentsand tendons and may cause serious joint deformity and disability.
    • Post-traumatic arthritis: Develops after an injury to the hand, wrist or fingers. Thiscauses the cartilage between joints to wear away and can develop many yearsafter the initial injury. An injured joint is much more likely than anuninjured joint to become arthritic even if the injury is properly treated.

    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

    Read Also: Is Eating Tomatoes Bad 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 Doctors Diagnose Arthritis Hand Pain

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms You Might Be Ignoring

    To determine whats behind your hand pain, your doctor will rely on your medical history, a physical exam, and imaging and blood tests to make a diagnosis and determine what kind of arthritis hand pain you have.

    Feeling a patients joints during the exam can help differentiate between OA and inflammatory arthritis, Dr. Byram says. The swelling feels harder in those with OA because extra bone at the joints, called osteophytes, forms over time. The swelling in RA and other inflammatory disease feels softer.

    Imaging tests, such as X-rays or an MRI, can reveal joint erosion and osteophytes and loss of cartilage .

    If your doctor suspects inflammatory arthritis, they will also order blood tests to detect the presence of certain antibodies, such as rheumatoid factor or anti-CCP, that help identify RA and other types of inflammatory arthritis.

    You May Like: How To Treat Lower Back Arthritis

    How Else Can Your Gp Surgery Help

    Your GP surgery can be involved in your RA care in many different ways. They continue to look after you in general and may want to keep a close eye on your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels as there is a higher risk of heart disease in people affected by rheumatoid arthritis. This is often done as an annual review with one of the practice nurses. Many GP surgeries are involved in doing the blood monitoring for the specific drugs used in controlling and treating the joint inflammation , so you may get your regular blood tests performed by your surgery.

    Rheumatoid arthritis, along with many of the treatments used affects the bodys immune response to infections. Your surgery may therefore contact you to offer you annual influenza jab and also a Pneumovax for pneumonia . With some of these treatments live vaccines should be avoided so please ensure you contact your Doctors surgery if you are planning to travel abroad.

    Who Gets Arthritis In Their Hands

    You are more likely to get arthritis in your hands if:

    • Youre older. Osteoarthritis is commonly seen after age 50. Rheumatoid arthritis typically first appears between the age of 35 and 50.
    • Youre a woman.
    • Youre white.
    • Youre overweight.
    • Youve had previous injuries to your hand. If youve dislocated or broken any joints in your hands or fingers, you are more likely to develop arthritis.
    • You’ve inherited genes that cause the development of arthritis.

    Read Also: Is Banana Good For Arthritis

    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.

    Popular Articles
    Related news