How Are Wrists And Hands Affected By Arthritis
Any joint in your fingers, thumbs, knuckles and wrists can be affected by arthritis. Many different types of arthritis can affect your hands and cause joint pain, swelling and stiffness. People with hand arthritis often find their grip weakens and it becomes harder to do fine movements, such as turning a key or tying shoelaces.
Find out about aids and equipment that can make everyday tasks easier. Learn ways to protect your hands and manage your symptoms.
Exercise For Your Thumbs
Your doctor or a physical therapist may recommend hand exercises. You can do these exercises to improve range of motion and improve your arthritis symptoms.
Simple exercises can include a thumb stretch, in which you attempt to touch the tip of your thumb to just under your pinky finger.
Another stretch, called IP, uses flexion. It requires you to hold your thumb stable with your other hand and attempt to bend just the upper part of the thumb. And an additional exercise is to simply touch the tips of each of your fingers to the tip of your thumb.
You should only do these exercises after consulting with your doctor or physical therapist. And be sure to get instructions to make sure youre doing the movements correctly.
Staying Physically Active Despite Hand Arthritis
Your doctor will tell you and probably has already that staying physically active is an important part of managing arthritis. In fact, according to a study of 5,715 adults with arthritis over age 65, a lack of regular, vigorous physical activity doubled the risk of functional decline. In other words, the less physically active the participants were, the more likely they were to become disabled.
Of course, despite data showing that physical activity helps people with arthritis become stronger and more flexible, anyone with arthritis will tell you that sometimes pain or stiffness makes it hard to get going, let alone lift weights at the gym. People with arthritis often give up activities they think of as optional, such as exercising or gardening, in order to have enough energy for the activities they feel obligated to do, such as cleaning the house. One study found that only 13 percent of men and 8 percent of women with arthritis met federal guidelines of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.
If symptoms of arthritis in your hands or elsewhere are preventing you from participating in the physical activities you used to enjoy and that are good for you it may be time to find new ways to be active. For example, you may want to experiment with water activities such as swimming, or try tai chi, dance, or walking .
Also Check: Does Psoriatic Arthritis Itch
Treatment For Thumb Arthritis
Osteoarthritis in the thumb is the most common form of arthritis that affects the hands. Osteoarthritis results from the breakdown of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. It can affect the basal joint, which is the joint near the wrist and the fleshy part of the thumb. This joint normally allows you to pinch, pivot, and swivel your thumb for hundreds of tasks every day.
In people with thumb arthritis, the cushion-like cartilage inside the joint breaks down over time. This causes the bone to rub against bone. Symptoms of thumb arthritis can become crippling, partly because the thumb is needed so often each day. Decreased grip strength, decreased range of motion, and swelling and pain throughout your hand may occur. You may find it difficult to open jars, twist open a doorknob, or even snap your fingers.
If you have arthritis in other joints like your knees, hips, or elbows, it may make thumb arthritis more likely. Women are more prone to thumb arthritis, especially those with very flexible or lax thumb ligaments. Statistically, women are more likely than men to develop thumb arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another type of arthritis that can develop in the basal joint.
Arthritis is different in each individual. There are a variety of treatments that may work for your particular symptoms.
Initial treatment options involve:
- steroid injections
If these methods do not relieve pain and improve function, the joint may need to be reconstructed with surgery.
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.
You May Like: Tomatoes Bad For Arthritis
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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ra In The Hands
The most common symptoms involve pain, swelling and stiffness in the hands and fingers. You may also experience:
- Numbness and tingling similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Joints that are warm and tender to the touch.
- Misshapen joints in your wrist or fingers.
You will usually experience symptoms in both hands. The pain and stiffness from RA lasts for more than an hour after waking up.
Recommended Reading: Remedy For Arthritis In Lower Back
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.
Hallmark Symptoms Of Ra In The Fingers Thumbs And Wrists
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of RA in the hands can help distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from other types of arthritis that affect the hand, such as osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Keep in mind that these symptoms may be accompanied by pain in other joints as well as fever, fatigue, and a general feeling of being unwell.
You May Like: Arthritis In Fingers Prevention
Ra In Hands: What Hand Joints Are Affected By Rheumatoid Arthritis
Its no fun waking up like this: your hands ache. Your fingers are stiff and sometimes twisted. They may even feel hot and tender to the touch. There is no good hand that isnt plagued by these symptoms. Its another flare-up of rheumatoid arthritis , a malady that can affect any joint in the body, but frequently settles in the hands.
Signs Symptoms And Treatment
Our fingers are important! We use them constantly, all day long: to brush our teeth, to send emails, to cook our meals. When arthritis affects the fingers, everyday tasks become difficult and painful. So what can we do when our finger joints begin to cause problems?
This article provides more information about arthritis in the fingers, what causes it, and what you can do to help keep your fingers moving.
Verywell / Cindy Chung
Does Arthritis Cause Tendonitis And Vice Versa
In a word, no. Although both involve inflammation arthritis is joint inflammation and tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon having one doesnt directly cause you to develop the other.
That said, these conditions sometimes overlap. People with psoriatic arthritis frequently get enthesitis and tendonitis, says Dr. Huffstutter. In fact, enthesitis is a unique feature of psoriatic arthritis and axial spondyloarthritis .
How To Know If You Have Arthritis
Knowing if you have arthritis can be problematic. There are tons of different symptoms and more than a hundred different types of arthritis and related conditions. The sad thing, however, is that many older individuals tend to resign to their fate that joint pain and arthritis is all part and parcel of growing old. Younger people on the other hand simply dismiss the pain that they feel, attributing it to a simple sports injury that will recover with time. The thing about arthritis is that it can happen to anyone of any age and early diagnosis and treatment can really ease the pain and protect your joints. Ultimately, only a doctor can confirm if you have arthritis but it is always good to know the symptoms so you can protect your joints. Here are some steps you can take to evaluate your own health and see if you should be concerned about having arthritis.
The first step to checking if you have arthritis is to have a physical examination of the suspected joint. Joints that are functioning properly should have a complete range of motion without any pain, swelling or stiffness. If an area is chronically swollen, perhaps when you are engaged in a more intense activity and has a feeling of general warmth and tenderness, then perhaps it would be wise to consult your doctor. A good test to see if a joint is swollen is to compare it with the symmetrical joint on your other half of the body.
You May Like: How To Soothe Arthritis
Healing Arthritis In Hands And Getting Back To Normal
Once you know what is causing your hand arthritis symptoms, you can start moving on getting rid of that arthritis in hands and fingers.
The arthritis hand pain mechanism is 100% reversible.
Having said that, if a certain amount of damage has been done, even with the arthritis mechanism removed, some or all of that damage may be irreversible .
And, mostly in the case of RA, once the bony structures of the joints change shape as the auto-immune process causes them to become deformed, there is no UN-deforming the bone.Bone shape changes are permanent.
So ideally you completely reverse your arthritis issue BEFORE you develop too much joint damage and/or your finger joints deform and change shape.
How Can You Prevent Arthritis In Your Hands
If you have a family history that includes any type of Arthritis or if you have experienced a difficult trauma in your life, then it is for the best if you follow a few, simple prevention tips just to increase your chances of avoiding Arthritis.
So how can you prevent Arthritis in your hands and fingers? Maintaining a healthy weight, staying away from alcohol and smoking and including some type of physical activity are some of the best prevention tips that any doctor can give you. Simple hand and wrist exercises can help you to preserve your hand and finger function.
A healthy lifestyle is what will help you to avoid not only Arthritis but most of the popular diseases of the 21st century. So many joint supplement reviews available online, such as Relief Factor Review that may help you to alleviate joint pain.
You May Like: How To Deal With Arthritis
Exercises That Help Relieve Arthritis In The Fingers And Hands
If someone is pain free, it is critical to keep joints in good range of motion. Simple shoulder shrugs, wrist, and finger range of motion exercises help keep joint range of motion, says physical therapist Charles J. Gulas, PT, PhD, GCS, dean of the School of Health Professions at Maryville University of St. Louis. Being pain free is the key, Gulas stresses, especially when doing exercises intended to build strength. When pain acts up, rest and pain management may be a better bet.
Try these range-of-motion exercises to keep your hands, fingers, and thumbs flexible and to ease symptoms of arthritis in the fingers and in the hands overall:
- Close your fist and then gradually open your hand, stretching your fingers out, then close slowly into a fist again.
- Make circle motions with your thumb, keeping it straight.
- Stretch your thumb away from the palm of your hand, then use it to touch each fingertip.
Repeat these exercises 3 to 10 times daily. Stop if you feel pain in a joint or if you’re experiencing additional pain once youre done. Some people find that doing these hand exercises under warm water is helpful. If you have osteoarthritis, you may need to wear a splint, wear a compression glove, or use another type of support to help reduce wear and tear on your joints during your daily activities. Ask your doctor or a physical therapist to recommend the type of device that may help you.
Inflammatory Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis: Causes And Symptoms
Arthritis actually describes over 100 different conditions that affect joints and the surrounding tissue. They fall into two main categories: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis .
Inflammatory arthritis is a systemic disease in which the mechanisms that normally protect your body attack your own joints and tissues instead. The most well-known example is rheumatoid arthritis its hallmark symptom is prolonged stiffness and achiness in the morning after waking up. RA also tends to be symmetrical, meaning you’ll have problems in the same joints on both sides of your body, like both wrists or both knees.
The second type of arthritis and the most common form is osteoarthritis. A degenerative disorder, it’s caused by trauma or age-related wear and tear on your joints over time. Osteoarthritis is most likely to affect weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hip, lower spine or big toe, but it can also cause pain and stiffness in your thumb or finger joints.
Read Also: How To Deal With Arthritis
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.
Arthritis: A Common Culprit
One in every five American adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. And in more than 30% of those diagnosed cases, the patient reported having pain significant enough to limit their lifestyle, daily activities, and even their work.
If youre experiencing joint pain and are wondering if you may be among these statistics, youre probably beginning to wonder: how do I know if I have arthritis?
Arthritis is characterized by inflammation within a joint, but the reason for the inflammation can vary. Below weve provided a breakdown of how the major forms of arthritis occur in the body and how they present themselves with specific symptoms.
Heres your guide to answering the question…
Read Also: How Do I Know If I Have Knee Arthritis
Treatments For Hand Oa
- Non-Drug Treatments: Reducing strain on joints with a splint or brace, adapting hand movements, doing hand exercises or using hot or cold therapy can help to ease pain.
- Drug Treatments: Medicines to ease OA symptoms are available as pills, syrups, creams or lotions, or they are injected into a joint. They include pain relievers like acetaminophen, counterirritants like capsaicin or menthol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids.
- Surgical Treatments: If medications or self-care activities fails to give relief, surgery may be an option. An orthopaedic surgeon can remove the damaged cartilage and fuse bones together or replace the damaged joint with a plastic, ceramic or metal implant.
How Will It Affect Me
The symptoms of hand osteoarthritis can vary between different people and over time. You’ll probably have good days and bad days. You may find this depends on what you’re doing, but sometimes there may not be any obvious reason.
If the joints are inflamed then they’re likely to look swollen and red and to feel warm and tender to the touch. You’re likely to have pain, especially when using your hands but sometimes even while resting. Swelling can also cause the soft tissues around a joint to stretch, which can make your hands feel weak or unstable.
As we use our hands such a lot in daily life, pain, stiffness or poor grip strength can cause problems with a wide variety of tasks and activities including:
- opening jars and cans
- holding a pen or cutlery
- doing up buttons or zips
- handling money
- shaving, brushing your teeth, or drying yourself after a bath or shower.
Hand osteoarthritis often tends to ‘burn out’ after a time. It may be painful for a few years and then the pain may improve, especially if only the small finger joints are affected. Any firm, knobbly swellings or nodes that have developed will remain though. And the range of movement in the joints doesn’t always improve even when the pain does.
Sometimes the weather, especially cold weather, can make your symptoms worse. However, the weather won’t affect the long-term outlook or how the condition progresses.
Recommended Reading: Are Eggs Bad For Psoriatic Arthritis