Exercise #: Make A Fist
You can do this easy exercise anywhere, and any time your hand feels stiff. Start by holding your left hand up straight. Then, slowly bend your hand into a fist, placing your thumb on the outside of your hand. Be gentledont squeeze your hand. Open your hand back up until your fingers are straight once again. Do the exercise 10 times with the left hand. Then repeat the whole sequence with the right hand.
Part 4 of 9: Finger Bends
Are Glucosamine And Chondroitin Supplements Helpful For Treating Osteoarthritis Of The Hand
Supplements are not reviewed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration . They are not required to undergo the same rigorous clinical trial methods that medications must undergo in the U.S. Some clinical trials show benefits with pain relief however, there is no proof that these supplements slow the progression of osteoarthritis. If you plan to try these, always check with your healthcare provider before using supplements. These products may interfere with medications you currently take.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Dull or burning joint pain, morning stiffness, swollen joints in your hand are all symptoms of arthritis. Many types of arthritis could affect your hands. Many treatment options are available depending on your exact arthritis type. Medications can reduce joint pain and swelling. Researchers are still working on ways to slow the progression of osteoarthritis. See your healthcare provider if you think you have arthritis in your hands. They will perform a complete exam and offer you a complete treatment plan, which includes hand exercises, use of hot and cold packs, other lifestyle tips and traditional treatments including medications, braces/splints, steroid injections and surgery.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/06/2021.
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.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In Hands
You already know what arthritis symptoms you’re experiencing in your hands and fingers, but let’s break the most common symptoms own here.
For both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, the symptoms are very similar. Both kinds of arthritis can create the following symptoms:
- ache and/or pain in the hands
- ache and/or pain in the fingers
- ache and/or pain in the wrist
- ‘stiff’ finger joints
- ‘warm’ finger joints
- reduced range of motion
Symptoms are not the problem with hand arthritis. Symptoms are not the cause.
That seems like common sense, but for some reason humans tend to focus on the symptoms.
But you may want to shift your focus to the CAUSE of the symptoms. Because if you just deal with the symptoms, you’ll never fix the mechanism that is causing those symptoms.
You want to reverse the arthritis mechanic, as opposed to just suppressing the symptoms (that leaves the mechanism to progressively get worse over time.
Wear A Brace Or Splint
This can be cumbersome when youre going about your day, but the support and pain relief it brings can be significant for some people. But a brace or splint is not useful is the fit is off or if its not the right type for your specific needs. I usually recommend neoprene orthosis for daytime to support a wrist or thumb, and if needed thermoplastic , which are rigid and meant to limit motion at night if pain interferes with sleep, says Dodge. Be sure to check in with your occupational therapist before ordering one on your own.
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Treatments Methods To Relieve Symptoms
Finger arthritis is easily diagnosed because it is common. Most treatments for finger arthritis will match treatments for arthritis in general. These can include medications like:
- Topical creams: These usually contain ingredients like capsaicin or diclofenac, which are applied over the skin around the joint and can relieve pain and soothe inflammation.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Acetaminophen , ibuprofen or naproxen sodium are common choices. Always take these in accordance with the guidance on the label.
- Prescription pain relievers: Celecoxib or tramadol . These are unlikely to be prescribed for mild symptoms.
Many patients also benefit from exercises to treat their finger arthritis. Some exercises that may help include:
- Make a fist: Slowly and deliberately form a fist, then release it until the fingers are straight again. This is a great way to get all your fingers and your whole hand moving at once, and its easy to do literally anywhere.
- Finger bends: Slowly bend each finger at each joint, holding it in each position for a few seconds. This is a great way to focus on an individual finger thats bothering you.
- Thumb bends: Gently touch your thumb to the base of your pinkie, or as close as you can comfortably reach.
- Finger lifts: Putting your hand flat on a table, gently lift each finger individually.
There are many more arthritis exercises than just these, so you can always talk to your doctor if you are unsure of what to do.
Hand Exercises To Ease Arthritis Pain
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When arthritis affects the joints of the hands, it can cause pain and stiffness. That pain can get worse whenever you use your hand a lot for repetitive tasks.
For example, typing on a computer keyboard or gripping utensils in the kitchen can cause discomfort. You may also lose strength in your hands.
Weakness in your hands can make it hard to do even the simplest everyday tasks, such as opening jars.
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Looking For More Information On Finger Splints
Our blogs are educational in nature and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic treatments. We are always happy to answer questions about products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.
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.
What Are The Best Treatments For Arthritis In The Hands
November 19, 2019 By Alex Hirsch
Arthritis can be disabling, especially when it is in the hands and fingers. It can prevent you from carrying out normal day-to-day activities such as work duties and preparing meals.
Arthritis is a common disease that causes pain and stiffness within joints, including the hand. Appropriate treatment will depend on the severity of the symptoms, but they can include medications, therapy, lifestyle adjustments, and surgery.
What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Hand
- 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 Conditions Will An Oval
Oval-8 Finger Splints treat a variety of finger problems including arthritis, trigger finger and trigger thumb, mallet finger, swan neck deformity, hypermobility and crooked and broken fingers. These lightweight easy-to-wear finger splints are based on a orthopedic principle that it takes three points of pressure to stabilize or support a joint. Using this principle in the design, the Oval-8 is a very effective treatment for common finger conditions just by applying a simple turn of the splint.
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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Why Does Arthritis Cause Pain In Your Hands
The cartilage of your joints starts wearing away due to arthritis. It can result in irritation and inflammation of your synovial lining. In a normal condition, this lining has fluid to lubricate and protect your joints. However, the effect on the synovial lining can cause several complications.
The joints of your hands can become stiff and painful for arthritis. While you use your hands for repetitive tasks, the pain will become more intense.
For instance, you may feel discomfort while gripping a bag and typing on a keyboard. Your hands will also lose strength. As your hands become weaker, you may not be able to do your regular tasks easily.
To alleviate pain and other symptoms of arthritis in your hands, you can do exercises. We have made a list of the most effective exercises for arthritis in hands.
Young Adults With Arthritis Pain
Doctors are starting to see growing numbers of young adults with arthritis pain today as a result of the gaming and texting they did as kids 5 or 10 years earlier. Its perhaps not surprising: A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that middle-school and high-school students average 95 minutes of texting every day, and a Pew Research report found that one in three teens sends more than 100 text messages a day thats 3000 texts a month. Children and young adults 8 to 18 years old are also spending more than 7 hours a day on some type of entertainment media.
“One of the most common places where we see arthritis from repetitive hand use is at the base of the thumb,” Dr. Nanavati explains. “This type of injury may cause shooting pain that radiates up the forearm.”
Symptoms of repetitive stress injuries may include severe joint pain in the fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, or back, along with stiffness, numbness, tingling, burning, and a loss of strength.
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What Are The Types Of Deformities
Early in the disease, RA tends to attack the small joints of your hands and feet. This can lead to several types of deformities, including:
Ulnar drift. Your fingers lean away from your thumb and toward your pinky.
BoutonnieÌre deformity. Also called a buttonhole deformity. Your middle finger joint bends downward , while your top finger joint bends away from the palm.
Swan-neck deformity. The base and top joint of your finger bend downward, but the middle joint is straight.
Hitchhikerâs thumb: Also called a z-shaped deformity. Your thumb flexes at the joint where it meets your palm, then bends backward at the joint below your thumbnail.
Bunion. The base of your big toe gets larger and sticks out. This may force your big toe to press against the second toe, forcing it to overlap the third.
Claw toe. Describes different types of deformities:
- Toe bends upward from the ball of your foot
- Toe bends downward, toward the sole of your shoe, at the middle joint
- Toe bends downward at the top joint
What Causes Finger Arthritis
There is no one cause of finger arthritis, but several factors increase your risk of developing it, including:
- Increasing age, especially over 65
- Gender women are more likely to get arthritis
- Being overweight
- Previous injuries in your fingers
- Genetic defects in the cartilage or fingers
- Repetitive stress to the hands and fingers, whether occupational or recreational
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis is also common in the fingers.
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How To Treat Osteoarthritis
The goals in treating osteoarthritis are to relieve pain and restore function. Brief rest either by changing activities or wearing a splint can help. Soft, snug sleeves can help support a joint when rigid splints are too restrictive. Heat can soothe the joints and help keep them mobile. It is important to keep as much finger motion and function as possible. Hand therapists can teach joint protection exercises and activity modification to help protect joints. Anti-inflammatory medication or a steroid injection into the joint can decrease pain, but neither cures osteoarthritis.
Surgery is considered when the non-surgical options above have not helped. In most cases, you will tell your doctor when you are ready for surgery. The goal is to restore as much function as possible and to minimize your pain. One type of surgery is joint fusion. The worn cartilage is removed and the bones on each side of the joint are fused together, which means that the joint will not move but it will not hurt. Another choice is joint reconstruction, where the rough joint surface is removed and either replaced with your own soft tissue or with an implant. The type of surgery depends on the joint involved, your anatomy, and your activities. Your hand surgeon can help you decide which type of surgery is the best for you.
This content is written, edited and updated by hand surgeon members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.Find a hand surgeon near you.
How To Reverse Arthritis In The Fingers
Put ice in an ice pack or inside a hand towel. Strap or tie the ice pack or hand towel around your fingers so that the ice is compressed directly against the arthritic finger joint 1 . Repeat this procedure every three to four hours until the inflammation and swelling have been substantially reduced.
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Strengthen Joints With Easy Exercises
How Will I Know If I Have Finger Arthritis
Your finger has three joints: One at the base, one in the middle, and one toward the fingertip. Arthritis can affect any of them causing a range of uncomfortable symptoms in your finger.
The first symptoms you may notice are stiffness and a dull, achy in your finger. Swelling is another common symptom of finger arthritis. Sometimes, you may feel grinding or grating when you use a finger joint. As your arthritis progresses, you may notice bony nodules at the affected joints. You may also see deformities in your finger. Your finger may seem bent to the side at a joint or it may appear to be permanently flexed or bent down at a joint.
Often, your doctor can tell that you have finger simply by looking at your hands and from your symptoms, especially significant swelling, nodules over your joints, or finger deformity. Your doctor may also recommend some tests to verify your diagnosis. These include blood tests and other lab tests, X-rays, and other tests that make a picture of your bones and joints, such as a bone scan.
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