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.
Meditation For Pain Management
Meditation is an ancient mind and body practice that goes back to Buddhism and other Eastern religions. It puts your focus and attention on the current moment and not letting lifes distractions get in your way.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, meditation can promote calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being. And research shows meditation can be helpful for managing chronic pain associated with conditions like OA and RA.
A 2011 article in the medical journal Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America looked at the possible benefits of meditation on people with rheumatological diseases like RA and OA, which the author cites as the most significant causes of chronic pain.
The reports author further argues that while mind-body therapies can be effective for managing pain, only about 20% of people with chronic pain use them. This 2011 piece also discusses an older study that found only eight weeks of mediation therapy improved pain in people with RA.
Avoid Excessive Gripping/twisting/turning Tasks
Osteoarthritis symptoms are often triggered by overuse activities. Therefore, to deter an increase in pain and stiffness, avoid excessive gripping/twisting/turning tasks. There are many commercially available items than can help you avoid straining your hands. For instance:
Electric can opener Can significantly decrease the amount of stress on the hand, versus using a manual can opener.
Electric and automatic jar openers Also handy to use at home to decrease strain to the hands.
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What Can I Do To Decrease Hand Arthritis Symptoms
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.
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.
Medications For Thumb Arthritis
Medications used for pain include over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and injectable medications.
OTC medications that can help with pain include acetaminophen , nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , and supplements.
OTC NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen . NSAIDs in high doses may cause health problems, so be sure not to take more than is recommended on the package or by your doctor.
There are supplements with some evidence of efficacy. These include glucosamine and chondroitin, which are available as pills and powders. Additionally, capsaicin skin creams applied to the thumb may help relieve pain.
Keeping Your Hands And Wrists Moving
Moving your hands, wrists and fingers as much as possible can help ease pain and stiffness. This will also maintain range of movement, function and strength.
We have some exercises you can do at home. Try to do them as regularly as you can, especially if your hands and wrists are feeling stiff.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, talk to a physiotherapist, GP or hand therapist for specific advice on exercise.
Osteoarthritis Of The Elbow
Osteoarthritis of the elbow occurs when the cartilage surface of the elbow is damaged or becomes worn. Osetoarthritis is caused by our bones degenerating as we age due to simple wear and tear, but may also be caused by previous injuries such as elbow dislocations or fractures. The most common symptoms are pain and loss of motion in the elbow. Patients usually report a “grating” or “locking” sensation in the elbow.
Treatment is designed to relieve pain and restore function. Conservative treatment includes medications to reduce or alleviate pain, physical therapy, and activity modification. A cortisone injection can often provide relief of symptoms, but does not cure the arthritis. Surgery is usually not advised unless these more conservative treatments fail.
Surgical Treatment for Osteoarthritis of the Elbow
Surgery is indicated when the patient either has too much pain or too little function. If the wear or damage is limited, arthroscopy can offer a minimally invasive surgical treatment. It may be an option for patients with earlier stages of arthritis. If the joint surface has worn away completely, it is unlikely that anything other than a joint replacement would bring about relief. Our hand surgeons at Emory will help you decide which type of surgery is the most appropriate for you.
What Is Arthritis Pain
Pain is your body’s alarm system. Pain tells you something is wrong. When part of your body is injured or damaged, nerves in that area release chemical signals. Other nerves act like tiny telephone wires and send these signals to your brain where they are recognized as pain. Pain “tells” you that you need to do something. For example, if you touch a hot stove, the pain signal makes you pull away your hand to prevent further injury. This type of pain is useful because it is your body’s way of protecting you from further injury.
Long-lasting pain, for example, the pain of arthritis, is a bit different. While chronic pain is also an alarm that tells you something is wrong, it often isn’t sufficiently relieved when you treat it. Controlling this type of pain is important since it can disrupt your life.
The methods used to control short-term pain, such as strong painkillers, are not useful for controlling the chronic pain of arthritis. Other methods such as those listed in this article can help.
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Breath In Fragrant Spices
Pleasant aromas like lavender can alter the perception of pain, studies show. Japanese researchers found that lavender reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can make you feel relaxed and less aware of pain. But lavender isnt the only pleasant aroma that works as a natural home remedy for arthritis pain relief. Korean researchers found that arthritis patients experienced less pain and were less depressed when they were exposed to the aromas of a variety of kitchen spices, including marjoram, rosemary, and peppermint. For a pain-soothing aromatherapy treatment, add a teaspoon of one of these dried herbs to a quarter-cup of olive, coconut, or vegetable oil. Take a whiff periodically. Dont miss these other soothing essential oils for arthritis pain relief.
How To Get Rid Of Arthritis Pain With Epsom Salt
- Take a bowl full of warm water.
- To this warm water add a handful of Epsom Salt.
- Stir the Epsom Salt well in this hot water.
- Soak your hand joints or wherever you are having the knuckle pain in the warm water for 10 minutes.
- Now take off your index finger joint pain from the Epsom salt water.
- Repeat this procedure as arthritis treatment for four weeks until you get rid of arthritis in fingers.
How It Works
Epsom salt bath gives you the relaxation when you soaked your knuckles hand in the Epsom salt water. Also, the Epsom salt reduces the muscle cramps and reduces the inflammation of the tissue and promotes healthy blood circulation to the rheumatoid hand deformities. It is the best tip on how to get rid of arthritis in fingers or how to reduce swelling from rheumatoid arthritis as a finger joint pain treatment instead of the best arthritis medication for arthritis. Hence try this tip for osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis hands.
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Treatment For Hand Arthritis In The Greater Chesapeake
If you have a hand injury or chronic condition such as arthritis, turn to the experts at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder. Our team of hand experts have a profound understanding of the complex networks of blood vessels, nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones that make up the hand and fingers.
We understand how important pain-free hand and finger motion and function is to daily activities, including work, self-care, sports, and leisure. Our orthopedic and plastic surgeons specialize in hand surgery, and we can offer state-of-the-art nonsurgical and surgical care to treat a full range of hand and finger injuries and conditions.
Call us today to schedule a consultation with our at or request an appointment online now for any of our Greater Chesapeake locations. We look forward to helping you feel less pain in your hands and regain hand motion and function, so you can get back to doing what you love.
For Hands And Fingers
There are a number of things you can do at home to help relieve your symptoms. Once you meet with your doctor, they can make a diagnosis and help you develop a treatment plan suited to your needs.
You may also find relief by:
- massaging the affected areas
- applying a hot or cold compress to reduce swelling
- wearing hand splints to help stabilize and protect your wrist and fingers
- taking regular breaks when typing or writing
- performing hand and wrist exercises to help stretch and strengthen the muscles
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Make A Few Wardrobe Changes
Minor changes to your wardrobe can reduce strain on your hands, helping to ease your overall pain and stiffness. For example, try wearing:
- Shoes that slip on or use Velcro rather than shoelaces
- Shirts that pull over the head rather than button up
- Pants that have elastic waistbands rather than snaps and zippers
Other lifestyle changes can also be helpful. For example, when cooking, use a jar opener, lightweight pots and pans, and kitchen utensils with large handles. An occupational therapist can give you additional ideas on how to reduce strain on hand joints.
Recognizing Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Hands
Women are more likely than men to have arthritis in their hands, and often people experience arthritis symptoms in their hands before other signs of arthritis show up. Different forms of arthritis affect the hands in different ways. For example, psoriatic arthritis, a type of arthritis related to the skin condition psoriasis, is most likely to cause pain in the joints closest to the fingernails , while in osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, cartilage can wear down in all the joints in the fingers and thumb. Symptoms of arthritis in the hands may include:
- Pain in some or all of the joints, including joints of the fingers, wrists, and thumbs
- The growth of bony knobs on finger joints
- Numbness in fingers
- Swollen, red, or warm joints
- Stiffness in the fingers, especially in the morning in patients who have rheumatoid arthritis
- Growth of lumps, or nodules, under the skin of the hands in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
- Fingers that look like swollen sausages in patients with psoriatic arthritis
- Difficulty with motions that require gripping and twisting, such as opening jars
The progression of arthritis in the hands can actually be measured. People with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis lose bone density, which can be measured with bone-density scanning, while the joint damage of osteoarthritis can usually be seen on X-rays.
Types Of Finger Arthritis
There are three types of arthritis that commonly affect the fingers:
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis, also called wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common type of finger arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes normal cartilage to wear away. This exposes bare bone at the joints. The most frequently affected joints in the hand are the knuckles of the mid-finger and fingertip and the joint at the base of the thumb.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis causes a different type of joint destruction. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that affects the whole body. It causes the immune system to attack the soft tissues surrounding the joints. The most commonly affected joints in the hand are the knuckles at the base of the fingers .
- Gout: Gout is a condition that occurs when crystals develop within the joints. These crystals can form in one or more joints when there is too much of a substance called uric acid in the body. While the big toe is the most commonly affected part of the body, gout can also develop in finger joints.
Rarely, other types of arthritis can also cause problems in the fingers.
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Press A Heating Pad Against The Painful Joint
To get rid of arthritis pain, try taking over-the-counter analgesics, like Tylenol, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, for quick relief. You can also treat a painful joint directly by applying a topical analgesic, such as capsaicin, onto your skin near the joint. If you’d prefer a more natural pain relief solution, try taking anti-inflammatory supplements, like SAM-e, fish oil, and avocado-soybean Unsaponifiables, instead. You should also make sure to exercise regularly and stay mobile to keep your joints from stiffening. However, avoid activities that put too much pressure on your joints, since you can overwork them. For more tips from our Medical co-author, like how to get rid of arthritis pain by making diet changes, scroll down!
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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.
What Causes Arthritis Pain
Many different diseases and conditions cause chronic pain. One of the most common is arthritis, a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the joints. Other common types of chronic pain are backache, muscle pain, headache and sore feet.
Arthritis pain is caused by:
- inflammation, the process that causes the redness and swelling in your joints
- damage to joint tissues caused by the disease process or from wear and tear
- muscle strain caused by overworked muscles attempting to protect your joints from painful movements
- fatigue caused by the disease process which can make your pain seem worse and harder to handle
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Use Heat Or Cold Safely
- Use either heat or cold for only 15-20 minutes at a time. Let your skin return to its normal temperature before using another application.
- Always put a towel between your skin and any type of pack.
- Always follow the advice of your physical therapist or doctor carefully when using these methods especially heat.
- Check your skin before and after using heat or cold.
- Use milder temperatures for a child’s skin because it is more sensitive than an adult’s skin.
- Do not use either heat or cold if you have open cuts or sores.
- Do not use cold packs if you have poor circulation or vasculitis.
- Do not use heat that is too hot or cold that is too cold. It is normal for your skin to appear pink after using a hot or cold pack. If an area appears dark red or spotty red and white there may be some skin damage. Blisters also appear if the pack was too hot or too cold.
- Do not use creams, heat rubs or lotions on your skin while using a hot or cold treatment.
- Do not make your bath or shower water too hot. This may cause dizziness or fatigue.
What Outcome Can I Expect If I Have Arthritis In My Hands
There is no cure for arthritis. However, you can usually manage mild to moderate symptoms with a combination of medication and non-medication approaches. Surgery may be an option if other treatments fail or the arthritis in your hands is severe. Your healthcare provider will explain what outcome you can expect for your type and severity of arthritis, your age, other existing medical conditions and other factors.
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