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.
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.
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.
Also Check: Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Your Skin
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
When To Contact A Doctor
Although it is not always necessary to contact a doctor during an osteoarthritis flare-up, symptoms that persist for more than a few days may need medical treatment.
The doctor may request imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans, to check for changes to joints and other damage. They will likely recommend medications to treat pain.
If necessary, the doctor may suggest additional treatments to address triggers, such as CBT for stress.
Osteoarthritis flare-ups are not always preventable, but some strategies can help minimize risk.
For example, people with osteoarthritis may find the following tips helpful:
- Maintain a moderate weight by making healthy dietary choices and getting plenty of exercise.
- Reduce stress through meditation, mindfulness, and deep breathing exercises.
- Take measures to get enough sleep.
- Engage in regular exercise to strengthen the bones, lubricate the joints, and increase muscle mass.
- Wear supportive braces to help protect and stabilize the joints.
- Use assistive devices to reduce stress on the joints.
Some foods and beverages that may help prevent inflammation include:
- fresh fruits and vegetables, as they are good sources of antioxidants
Also Check: What Is The Rheumatoid Arthritis Blood Test
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.
When Working Out
Experts don’t know exactly why some people’s hands tend to swell during exercise or how to prevent it, but you can still take steps to be comfortable. Take off your rings and loosen wristbands before you get started. Do forward and backward arm circles now and then during your workout, or stretch your fingers wide and then make fists, to help move that fluid.
What Is A Swan
This happens when the base of the finger and the outermost joint bend, while the middle joint straightens. Over time, this imbalance of the finger joints can result in the crooked âswan-neckâ position. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause it.
A swan-neck deformity can make it almost impossible to bend the affected finger normally. It can make it hard to button shirts, grip a glass, or pinch with the fingers.
Treatment may include:
- Finger splints or ring splints
- Surgery to realign the joints or fuse the joints so they work better
What Is A Boutonniere Deformity
Boutonniere deformity, also called buttonhole deformity, can happen due to rheumatoid arthritis.
The middle finger joint will bend toward the palm while the outer finger joint may bend opposite the palm. It may be the result of chronic inflammation of the finger’s middle joint.
Treatment may include splinting to keep the middle joint extended. Some cases need surgery.
Recommended Reading: Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Make You Feel Tired
The Right Tool For The Job
Some items are made with your swollen and stiff joints in mind, like easy-grip pens, spring-action scissors, and nonslip jar openers. Trade in your glass mixing bowls for lighter plastic or melamine versions. Have lever-style faucet handles installed so you don’t have to grip and turn for water in the kitchen and bathroom. Look for storage with lids that lift off or flip open easily. Avoid small parts or complicated latches.
How Can I Protect My Sore Hands
Here are some ways to protect the joints in your hands:
- Take notice of pain it can serve as a warning that your joints are being overworked. Rather than giving up an activity altogether, try taking regular rests during the activity and learning ways to manage pain. You will usually find you can still do the things you enjoy without discomfort.
- Use larger, stronger joints for example, carry your shopping bags over your shoulder rather than in your hands.
- Spread the load over several joints try carrying things with two hands.
- Reduce the effort you have to put in there is a wide range of labour-saving tools and equipment available. Buy pre-cut vegetables and meat to make cooking easier.
- Avoid gripping things tightly find out about gadgets that can make gripping and holding objects easier.
- See an occupational therapist to learn more ways to make daily tasks easier and take pressure off your joints.
- Visit an Independent Living Centre. These centres have a wide range of tools and equipment on display. You can get advice, including where to purchase equipment, in person or over the phone. Occupational therapists are also available at the centres to provide advice about equipment. Although you can drop in at anytime, it is preferred that you call the telephone enquiry service beforehand.
Also Check: How To Relieve Neck Pain From Arthritis
Use Hot And Cold Therapy
Hot and cold therapy can also be used to address the arthritis symptoms in your hands. Try applying ice to your swollen joints for at least 10 minutes at a time to help reduce the swelling. When applying ice to your hands, be sure to use a cloth to prevent any skin damage. As an alternative, try placing your hands in a tub of warm water for heat therapy. This can help ease your stiff joints. There are plenty of over the counter products available for hot and cold therapy that can help too.
How To Get Rid Of Swollen Hands By Applying Ice Pack Therapy
The ice pack therapy of treatment is a simple way of the cure of swollen hands and swollen fingers.
How to use?
- Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth
- Apply the ice pack to the swollen hands and fingers with gentle pressure
- Do this in every alternate hour for the alleviation of swelling and pain in the hands and fingers
Benefits of ice pack treatment
Applying an ice pack to the affected area reduces the swelling and pain. Ice pack helps in the alleviation of fluid retention, swelling, pain, and inflammation of the hands. The application of ice incredibly effective during an emergency and have healing effects on cases that are a chronic or long term.
The ice pack if used for longer times may be harmful to your skin or may further irritate that area. So, be sure to wrap it around a towel or any cloth before applying it to the affected area. The interval at which you need to apply these are 20 minutes at a time, but you should stop if it irritates your skin.
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.
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.
Recommended Reading: Can You Stop Rheumatoid Arthritis From Progressing
How To Get Rid Of Arthritis In Fingers
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 person’s 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.
Thankfully, numerous remedies can help alleviate the discomfort from arthritis of the fingers, from hand exercises to help strengthen your fingers to over-the-counter and prescription pain medications and surgical treatments.
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
Recommended Reading: Is Coffee Good For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Can You Do Anything About Hand And Finger Joint Pain
Everyone experiences the occasional painful hands and sore fingers, but when osteoarthritis strikes, it can put a hold on many aspects of your life.
“As osteoarthritis progresses, you may lose some hand mobility, like the ability to grasp and hold objects,” says Dr. Robert Shmerling, clinical chief of rheumatology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and senior faculty editor at Harvard Health Publishing. “Over time, osteoarthritis can make the joints deformed, so it’s harder to open and close your hands.”
Many Reasons Same Result
Swelling — what your doctor may call edema — 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 it’s happening, you want to be able to use your hands and get things done.
Recommended Reading: Can Trigger Finger Be Caused By Arthritis
Osteoarthritis Of The Hand
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
Is It Arthritis In My Hand Or Tendonitis
Arthritis and tendonitis can mimic each other, so its important to understand the difference between the two. Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons in your hand due to an injury or repetitive motion, and the pain can come and go suddenly or last for a few days.
Arthritis, however, is inflammation of the joint due to degenerative joint disease. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common forms are osteoarthritis , when the protective cartilage in the joint breaks down, and rheumatoid arthritis , when immune system attacks the joints. Early symptoms of arthritis include painful hand joints, burning sensation and decreased functionality of the hand and/or wrist.
Also Check: Is Protein Good For Arthritis
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 To Handle Possible Surgery
If mobility problems or pain from osteoarthritis becomes so severe it affects your quality of life, then surgery may be necessary. Here, the damaged cartilage in the joint is removed and the bones then fused together. Another option is joint replacement, which involves removing the damaged joint and replacing it with an implant. But keep in mind that surgery is not a miracle cure. “It doesn’t reverse the damage caused by osteoarthritis, and you don’t regain normal function. And with fusion, you lose all motion at that joint,” says rheumatologist Dr. Robert Shmerling, at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Also Check: Is Banana Good For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Supplements And Vitamins For Arthritis
There are a large number of vitamins, minerals, and herbs that are thought to help people manage their arthritis symptoms, but some of them are not supported by science. Here, we take a closer look at supplements and vitamins thought to aid people with arthritis and whether there is research to support those claims.
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.
Don’t Miss: Does Vicks Vapor Rub Help With Arthritis