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How To Know If You Have Arthritis In Your Hand

Ra In The Wrist: How Do I Know If I Have Arthritis In My Wrist

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

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and progressive autoimmune disease that occurs when the bodys natural immune system malfunctions and begins to attack the healthy tissue lining the joints. While any joint in the body can be affected, RA often starts in the joints of the wrists and hands, progressing to other joints over time. In fact, the wrist is the most common site for RA in the upper body, and usually, both wrists are involved. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 1.5 million people in the U.S. have rheumatoid arthritis, and the disease is about three times as common among women as among men.

How Do I Know If I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis Or Osteoarthritis In My Hands

November 27, 2020 By Yenny Rojas

Arthritis in the hands can cause pain and may prevent you from being able to perform even the simplest day-to-day activities. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common types to affect the hands are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Although some of the symptoms seem similar, there are key differences between the two conditions. Lets talk about their main similarities and differences, and where you can go for an evaluation and treatment for your hand pain.

What Is Hand Arthritis

Arthritis refers to a medical condition that involves inflammation of one or more joints in the body. Arthritis may cause joint destruction and necessitate joint replacement if the disability is severe enough.

A joint is the area where two bones meet. Within joints is a tissue called cartilage that acts as a cushion between two bony surfaces. Synovial fluid within joints protects them and helps facilitate movement. Synovial fluid is secreted by the inner lining of the joint called the synovial membrane. Hand arthritis occurs when there is inflammation in one or more joints of the hand and wrist. There are over 100 types of arthritis. A few of the common types of arthritis that affect the hands are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis , psoriatic arthritis and gout. The two most common types of arthritis that affect the hands are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Hand osteoarthritis occurs when there is wear and tear of one or more joints of the hand as seen with increasing age. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the bodys immune system attacks the joints of the hand.

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Preventing Arthritis In Your Hands

Some risk factors for arthritis are not modifiablesuch as aging and family history. But there are also risk factors within your control. You can reduce your risk for arthritis conditions by managing those. You will also want to take preventive measures to reduce the risk of your existing arthritis condition affecting your hands.

Weight Management And Diet

Home Remedies for Arthritis in Hands

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.

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Trigger Finger: Symptoms Signs And Treatments

Also called “stenosing tenosynovitis,” makes it difficult to fully straighten or bend your fingers. You may be unable to make a fist. People with trigger finger often feel their symptoms are worse when they wake up in the morning. While trigger finger can affect any finger, it most commonly arises in the ring finger, middle finger, and thumb.

Flexor tendons attach the muscles of your forearm to the bones of your fingers, passing through tunnels in the palm. When you contract a muscle in your arm, the flexor tendons enable your fingers to bend. With trigger finger, bands of tissue called “pulleys” that hold the flexor tendons close to the finger bones become inflamed or thickened, making it harder for the tendon to slide through the pulley as you bend your finger.

You may feel a small nodule in your palm that develops from enlargement of the tendon and/or thickening of the pulley. This may cause the tendon to catch as it passes through the pulley. You may also feel a clicking of the finger or experience locking of the joints. This is often quite painful and if left untreated, may lead to permanent stiffness of the finger.

More Tips For Your Hands

Moving your hands and fingers can help keep your ligaments and tendons flexible and increase the function of synovial fluid. Try regular hand exercises to strengthen muscles and relieve stiffness and pain. Simple exercises like flexing and bending, finger touching, and finger sliding may help keep your fingers limber.

Staying physically active while at the same time taking extra precautions against injury is vital not only for preventing arthritis, but also for your overall physical health.

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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.

What Treatments Are Available For Ra In The Wrist

Arthritis in the Hands//Top 5 Facts to know when you have hand arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic relapsing disease, and the joint damage it causes is irreversible. Because RA can cause significant joint damage and deformity fairly quickly, early and aggressive treatment is recommended. Treatment usually begins with conservative options like medications and therapy. Surgery can be helpful when these approaches no longer provide adequate relief. Nonsurgical treatment options are primarily aimed at reducing damaging inflammation and may include:

  • medicines like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and inflammation
  • corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation inside the joint
  • disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs like methotrexate, or special medicines called biologics or JAK inhibitors designed to target specific portions of the immune response system

Often, these medications are accompanied by physical or occupational therapy to help relieve joint stiffness and improve mobility in the joint. Assistive devices like pens or utensils with special grips may also help patients maintain mobility and function.

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Carpal Tunnel Versus Arthritis

If you have ever had a hand or leg go to sleep because of pressure that temporarily cuts off the blood supply, you can get an idea of what carpal tunnel can feel like. The prickling, burning sensation can be similar to the numbness caused by compressing the median nerve, which runs in a narrow tunnel like structure formed by the bones and connective tissues from the elbow to the hand. The tendons and median nerve allow the fingers of your hand to flex and extend.

The median nerve carries impulses to and from the palm side of your hand to the index, middle, and ring fingers, as well as your thumb. If the tissues of the tunnel are irritated , they can swell and place pressure on the nerve.

Arthritis of the hand, however, is caused by a different mechanism, often showing up with a specific pattern in the way it attacks the joints. In the case of arthritis, the lining of the joint itself becomes inflamed. This can occur because of osteoarthritis , or other inflammatory processes caused by a defect in the immune response, in which the body attacks otherwise healthy tissue. The symptoms of arthritis include stiffness and soreness of the joint, and frequently starts with the smaller joints of the hands.

If you, or a loved one has carpal tunnel syndrome or any form of arthritis, or you would like more information about treatments for carpal tunnel or arthritis, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Orthopaedic Associates at 892-1440 today.

Types Of Arthritis That Affect Hands

There are three main types of arthritis that affect your hands, including: Osteoarthritis , Rheumatoid Arthritis , and Psoriatic Arthritis . Each of these types of arthritis can affect your fingers, knuckles or palms to varying degrees. Lets look a bit further into the symptoms associated with these conditions.

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Causes Of Arthritis In The Hands

Arthritic conditions can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness in the small joints of the hands and fingers.

Inflammatory arthritis conditions, like RA, psoriatic arthritis, gout, and ankylosing spondylitis cause inflammation. Symptoms of inflammation include redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. In general, OA is degenerative, rather than inflammatory.

Tips For Preventing Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the hand

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.

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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.

What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Hand

Hand osteoarthritis is inflammation that causes pain and stiffness in your joints. It usually happens in three places:

  • The base of your thumb, where it meets your wrist
  • One of the joints closest to your fingertips
  • The middle joint of a finger

There’s no cure, but there are a lot of ways to protect your joints and feel better.

Without treatment, osteoarthritis gets worse over time. Itâs important to get a diagnosis and a treatment plan as soon as possible.

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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.

How Is Arthritis In The Hands And Fingers Diagnosed

How Can You Tell If You Have Arthritis In Your Hands And Fingers?

A physical exam is the first thing that your doctor would do. X-rays and an MRI are done as well just to determine at which stage is the inflammation. These techniques will help your doctor to find out which symptoms are present and what is the most proper treatment option.

*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

If the doctor thinks that it is Rheumatoid Arthritis that he/she is dealing with, then blood tests might be done as well.

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Common Injuries Hand Surgeons Treat

The hand is one of the most complex structures in the body, and trauma can injure not only the skin or bones of the hand, but also delicate nerves, arteries, tendons, and ligaments that allow your hand to function properly. When surgery is required, this complex network can be challenging to navigate, requiring the expertise of an experienced hand specialist. Hand surgeons are orthopedic surgeons with additional, advanced training in methods for treating upper extremity conditions. This includes performing surgery under a microscope, which may be necessary for fixing small structures in the hand and fingers.

The hand is commonly injured during sports, work or daily life activities. Common types of injuries that hand surgeons often treat include:

  • cuts from knives or sharp glass
  • falls on the outstretched hand
  • crush injuries of the hands or fingers, such as catching them in a door
  • animal bites and scratches
  • injuries from power tools, such as circular saws or drills

Many hand injuries can be treated with splints, casts, and hand therapy. Hand surgeons work closely with hand and occupational therapists to create a personalized therapy approach that is right for each patient. In some cases, is needed to fix broken bones or repair injured nerves, ligaments, or tendons. Most hand surgeries can be done in the outpatient setting, using a nerve block for pain control. Your surgeon and team will work together to ensure a safe surgery and a smooth recovery.

Treatment Similarities And Differences

  • Physical therapy exercises to relieve pressure and strengthen the affected area
  • Changing your environment or activities to compensate for pain or loss of function

In some cases, however, carpal tunnel syndrome becomes so severe that surgery is necessary to treat the problem. An outpatient surgery is performed, usually under local anesthesia, to increase the size of the space within the carpal tunnel and relieve the pressure on the median nerve by cutting the transverse carpal ligament at the base of the palm. This surgery usually relieves all symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome once the incision is healedabout 10 to 14 days.

Arthritis may also become severe enough to warrant surgery, but the procedure is very different. Reconstructive surgery is sometimes required when deformity is severe in osteoarthritis, and joint replacement may be required for people with severe rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis may also be treated with medications like disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs . Methotrexate is a DMARD commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Biologics like adalimumab , etanercept , and infliximab can also be used for this condition. These medications suppress the immune system to prevent further damage.

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Can Arthritis In The Hand Be Prevented

Arthritis cant be prevented. However, you can watch for symptoms of arthritis as you age and see your healthcare provider if you notice changes in your joints. You can also take steps to control factors that you can control. Eat healthy to nourish your body and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts more stress on your joints. Dont smoke. Smoking increases your risk of arthritis.

How Osteoarthritis Affects The Hands

Pin on Arthritis Info

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and it can affect any joint in the body and can strike at virtually any age. It is called wear-and-tear arthritis, which is why it can also affect young athletes who use certain joints practically every day when practicing or playing their sport.

It most commonly affects the knees, hips, and small joints in the hands, but symptoms are usually only experienced in one or a few joints at any one time. In the hand, this type of arthritis most often affects three main areas:

  • The base of the thumb
  • The middle joints of the fingers
  • The joints closest to the fingertips

In osteoarthritis, the protective cartilage that covers the ends of the bones in a joint begins to gradually break down and wear away, thereby causing pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the joint due to bone-on-bone rubbing. Cartilage is the tough, shock-absorbing material that allows the bones in joints to glide easily during motion.

Osteoarthritis of the hand can cause fingers to become stiff, painful, and swollen. Bony growths can also develop in the affected area, and the joint may become red and swollen. It can become difficult to write or to turn a key.

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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.

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