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.
Arthritis of the fingers can be quite uncomfortable, causing symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. These symptoms make hand motions like grasping and pinching difficult, which restricts a personâs ability to perform everyday tasks. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two types of arthritis that most commonly affect the finger joints. Depending on which type of arthritis affects your finger joints, you may experience additional symptoms.
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?
Topical Or Oral Nonsteroidal Anti
Dr. Newsum explains that topical over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications in the form of gels or creams can be even more effective than similar medications taken by mouth.
Since the finger joints are right under the skin, topical anti-inflammatories can deliver the active ingredient quite well and even offer less side effects compared to oral anti-inflammatories.
Though, oral anti-inflammatories can be an effective treatment, too, if needed.
Your doctor can help you determine which is best for you, says Dr. Newsum.
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Hand Exercises For Arthritis
Hand exercises or hand therapy can help you improve mobility in your fingers.
If you want to try hand therapy, you can ask your doctor to refer you to a hand therapist, which can be an occupational therapist or physical therapist. They’ll work with you to show you exercises that may help alleviate pain and improve flexibility in your hands.
For example, they may ask you to make a loose fist and then slowly open your hand. They can also show you different ways to complete everyday tasks to avoid pain and stiffness.
Assistive devices to open cans and doors, reach for objects, and assist with dressing yourself can be prescribed for you. These can help alleviate stress on your joints.
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- Joint deformity
Talk to your doctor about the symptoms you have. They may suggest certain lab tests or imaging tests as part of your complete evaluation.
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.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
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Treatment Options For Swollen Finger Joints
If you have swollen finger joints will be important in assisting your medical professional select the type and degree of arthritis . Before going to the doctor, monitor your symptoms for a couple of weeks, noting what is swollen and stiff, when, for how long, and what helps alleviate the symptoms.
If the medical professional presumes arthritis, they will carry out tests to inspect the series of motion in your joints, asking you to move the joint backward and forward. The doctor may likewise examine passive range of movement by moving the joint for you. Any pain throughout a variety of movement test is a possible sign of arthritis.
Dealing with swelling and tightness can involve medicine, both prescription or non-prescription, and other methods. Follow your doctors directions, however here is some general suggestions:
How To Treat Swollen Hands With Regular Exercise
It is highly recommended to exercise for the cure of swollen hands and swollen fingers.
How to use?
- Move your fingers and wrists in circular motions
- Contract and relax your muscles
- Do this twice daily for the alleviation of swelling in the hands and fingers
Benefits of contrasting hydrotherapy treatment
Exercises that involve stretching and strength training help to move the muscle of your wrists and hands which stimulates the flow of fluid and blood from your heart. You can also massage your hands at regular intervals by experts which often slows down the swelling effectively.
The home remedies are remarkably effective for the natural treatment of how to reduce swelling hands and fingers. They do not have any toxic side effects, unlike chemical medicines and drugs which only cause stomach ulcers and digestive poisoning. However, if the swelling persists for long, or gets aggravated with time, then consult a physician immediately.
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What Is A Joint And How Does It Work
A joint is where two or more bones meet, such as in the fingers, knees, and shoulders. Joints hold bones in place and allow them to move freely within limits.
Most of the joints in our body are surrounded by a strong capsule. The capsule is filled with a thick fluid that helps to lubricate the joint. These capsules hold our bones in place. They do this with the help of ligaments. These are a bit like very strong elastic bands.
The ends of the bones within a joint are lined with cartilage. This is a smooth but tough layer of tissue that allows bones to glide over one another as you move.
If we want to move a bone, our brain gives a signal to the muscle, which then pulls a tendon, and this is attached to the bone. Muscles therefore have an important role in supporting a joint.
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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The Future Of Oa Treatment
Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, OA hasnt had any major breakthroughs that have dramatically improved its medical treatment. Drug development for this type of arthritis has been slow because the disease itself follows a slow process. It takes time to track whether a treatment can halt joint damage when that damage occurs so gradually. Joint replacement surgery has been successful, but medical treatments for OA have been limited, Dr. Aliprantis says.
Hopefully, strontium or another disease-modifying therapy will prove its merit in future studies. But it could be several more years before any approach revolutionizes the treatment of this condition. I think were just starting to understand OA, Dr. Aliprantis says.
Tendon Repairs And Tendon Transfers
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause tendons in the hand to become injured and strained, eventually leading to a torn tendon. In some cases, a torn tendon may be surgically repaired. In other cases, the tendon may be so damaged that it cannot be repaired3O’Sullivan MB, Singh H, Wolf JM. Tendon Transfers in the Rheumatoid Hand for Reconstruction. Hand Clin. 2016 32:407416. doi:10.1016/j.hcl.2016.03.014 and a tendon transfer may be recommended.
During a tendon transfer surgery, the surgeon will transfer tendon tissue from a larger, healthy joint to the hand. The surgeon will also address any related structural abnormalities to help decrease the likelihood of a future tendon rupture.
The hand tendons most likely to tear include the ulnar-sided extensor tendons, flexor pollicis longus, and the flexor digitorum profundus.
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Many Reasons Same Result
Swelling â what your doctor may call edema â can be short-lived or long-term. Sometimes tiny blood vessels in your hands leak fluid. This could build up and cause swelling. It can happen during pregnancy or after an injury. Some medicines can lead to swelling. Regardless of why itâs happening, you want to be able to use your hands and get things done.
Osteoarthritis often affects three main areas of your hand:
- the base of your thumb
- the joints closest to your fingertips
- the middle joints of your fingers
Your fingers may become stiff, painful and swollen and you may develop bumps on your finger joints. Over time, the pain may decrease and eventually disappear altogether, although the bumps and swelling can remain.
Your fingers may bend sideways slightly at your affected joints or you may develop painful cysts on the backs of your fingers.
In some cases, you may also develop a bump at the base of your thumb where it joins your wrist. This can be painful and you may find it difficult to perform some manual tasks, such as writing, opening jars or turning keys.
Page last reviewed: 19 August 2019 Next review due: 19 August 2022
A Warning About Supplements
A few RA studies show that certain supplements and natural remedies can help. But the research is still in its early stages, so the bottom line isnât clear yet.
NCCAM: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Complementary and Alternative Medicine The Use of Magnets for Pain and Thunder God Vine.
Session 3: Joint Nutrition Society and Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute Symposium on Nutrition and autoimmune disease PUFA, inflammatory processes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis Today: Supplement Guide.
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How Doctors Diagnose Arthritis Hand Pain
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.
How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Hand Diagnosed
A thorough history and physical examination are essential to the diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the hand. As mentioned above, pain, stiffness, and deformities of the joint may be elicited in the physical exam. It is important to differentiate between osteoarthritis and other issues that cause pain, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, before starting treatment. Blood tests will also be used to rule out other forms of arthritis in the hands such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and septic arthritis. Rarely, needle aspiration of the fluid of in the joint may be performed to rule out other causes of arthritis.
Imaging studies will be performed to examine the joint itself. Plain X rays can show bone spurs, loss of cartilage, and damage to the bones. Often, the severity of a patients symptoms and the findings on the X ray may not correlate. MRI can then be used to assess early changes of osteoarthritis that may not show up on a traditional X ray.
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How Can I Reduce Arthritis Swelling
You can reduce arthritis swelling through a variety of medications and lifestyle changes. Although over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen are most commonly used in the early stages of arthritis, they can lose their effectiveness as the disease progresses. When this occurs, stronger prescription medications such as cortisone and some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be used. In general, these medications work best alongside healthy lifestyle changes such as a wholesome diet and the proper amount of exercise and rest. Other home remedies for arthritis swelling include fish oil or flax seed, eucalyptus oil and heat packs or ice packs, depending on the person. Stress reduction and alternative therapies such as massage and acupuncture have also been said to work for some arthritis patients.
NSAIDs work for arthritis swelling by blocking prostaglandins, which are a chemical that assists in the process of inflammation. Aspirin and ibuprofen are examples of NSAIDs that are available over the counter. Some stronger prescription NSAIDs also have been found to work for arthritis.
When To See A Doctor
Some telltale signs that arthritis has affected your hands include swelling, stiffness, tenderness, and joint pain of your wrists, hands, and fingers.
You should see a doctor when:
- Home treatments arent helping. If you have tried ice, heat therapy, over-the-counter pain relievers, and rest without adequate relief, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor to determine the source of your hand symptoms.
- You have pain in multiple joints. Conditions like RA make several of your joints hurts. So, if you are experiencing pain in other joints, in addition to your hands, it is a good idea to call your doctor and get in for an appointment.
- Your hand joints hurt a lot. If you have severe hand, finger, or wrist pain, this is another reason to call your doctor.
- You have warmth and redness. Symptoms like redness and warmth are signs of inflammation in the joints and need to be checked out.
- You have gradual pain and stiffness. Any type of joint painwhether in your hands or elsewhere in your bodythat progresses slowly could be linked to an underlying medical illness
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How Can I Ease Hand And Finger Joint Pain
Regular exercise is very important to make your hands and fingers more flexible. You also need to rest painful joints. It helps to use hand or finger splints to ease pressure if your RA flares up.
To exercise your hands and fingers, you can use a soft foam ball like a Nerf ball . Squeeze it and then relax your hand muscles.
Ask an occupational therapist about gadgets and devices that may help make everyday activities easier, at home or on the job. For instance:
- Use hook and loop fasteners to replace buttons on clothing.
- Add accessories to doorknobs for easier turning.
- Use lamp switches that require just a touch to the lamp base rather than twisting a small knob switch.
- Try a long-handled shoehorn to put on your shoes so you donât have to bend over and stretch your hands.
- Use lightweight household utensils, pots, pans, cups, and dishes.
- Put foam padding around your pen or pencil. These are available at most office supply stores.
Learn about more hand and finger exercises you can do for RA
How To Care For A Swollen Knee
When does a swollen knee require medical care, and when can it be treated at home? Mild to moderate knee swelling and knee effusionsometimes called water on the kneecan usually be treated at home. Medical attention is recommended if the knee is persistently swollen or accompanied by severe pain or other serious symptoms.
Read on to learn when to contact a doctor, how to treat a swollen knee at home, and how doctors can remove fluid from a knee using a process called aspiration.
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