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:
What Are Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Options
- There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis.
- To date, the goal of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis is to reduce joint inflammation and pain, maximize joint function, and prevent joint destruction and deformity.
- Early medical intervention has been shown to be important in improving outcomes.
- Aggressive management can improve function, stop damage to joints as monitored on X-rays, and prevent work disability.
- Optimal RA treatment involves a combination of medicines, rest, joint-strengthening exercises, joint protection, and patient education.
- Treatment is customized according to many factors such as disease activity, types of joints involved, general health, age, and patient occupation.
- RA treatment is most successful when there is close cooperation between the doctor, patient, and family members.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment And The Wildfire Analogy
Zerbini explains that early treatment that stops disease activity also stops joint and bone destruction. “You may compare the inflammatory process in the beginning of the disease to a bonfire that may become a fire, destroying the joint and adjacent bone if not eliminated by treatment as soon as possible, he says. The bottom line: Do not delay treatment.
Zerbini adds, The active disease leads to a continuous loss of bone and consequently to osteoporosis, leaving the patient with a high probability of a low trauma fracture. The pain and deformity prevent the ability to exercise, which contributes to additional loss of bone.
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Who Gets Arthritis In Their Hands
You are more likely to get arthritis in your hands if:
- Youre older. Osteoarthritis is commonly seen after age 50. Rheumatoid arthritis typically first appears between the age of 35 and 50.
- Youre a woman.
- Youre overweight.
- Youve had previous injuries to your hand. If youve dislocated or broken any joints in your hands or fingers, you are more likely to develop arthritis.
- You’ve inherited genes that cause the development of arthritis.
What Happens In A Joint Affected By Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system can cause inflammation inside a joint or a number of joints. Inflammation is normally an important part of how your immune system works. It allows the body to send extra fluid and blood to a part of the body under attack from an infection. For example, if you have a cut that gets infected, the skin around it can become swollen and a different colour.
However, in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, this inflammation in the joint is unnecessary and causes problems.
When the inflammation goes down, the capsule around the synovium remains stretched and cant hold the joint in its proper position. This can cause the joint to become unstable and move into unusual positions.
The following can play a part in why someone has rheumatoid arthritis:
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Early Signs You Shouldnt Ignore
Symptoms of arthritis can vary depending on the type, but if you start to notice the following common symptoms on a regular basis, you should see your doctor to receive an accurate diagnosis.
Swelling, heat or redness around a joint. Noticeable swelling, or if the area feels unusually warm or tender to the touch, can indicate inflammation around the joint.
Joint stiffness can be an early sign of arthritis. Although, as we get older, it is not unusual to feel stiff, particularly in the morning or following strenuous exercise, joint stiffness should ease once moving in the morning and shouldnt last longer than about half an hour.
Finding day to day activities difficult. Arthritis can cause weakness, restricted movement and loss of function in joints which may prevent you from carrying out normal day to day activities or make simple tasks much more difficult. Arthritis in the hands can cause pain or loss of strength when pinching or gripping, making some routine tasks such as opening a jar or turning a key painful or difficult.
Joint pain during the night. Joint pain can go unnoticed during the day when moving around and carrying out normal activities, but arthritis pain can become worse during the night. If you are noticing pain at night, or finding that your sleep is being severely disrupted as a result of joint pain, talk to your doctor.
What Are Early Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
by Patient Advocate
is a tricky disease to diagnose in its early stages, as patients can develop any of a wide range of symptoms and there is no single diagnostic measure by which RA can be confirmed or denied. Symptoms may not be constant they may begin slowly, come and go, or progress over weeks or months. Symptoms may appear in one part of the body and disappear for a time to reappear somewhere else later on .
The typical presentation of early RA includes joint stiffness in the mornings lasting for more than 30 minutes and pain and swelling in the small joints of the hands or feet, particularly in those that attach the fingers and toes, which persists for weeks. As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to larger joints, such as knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders, and hips.
But for many people with RA, early symptoms are less narrowly defined or disease-specific. And diagnosis can be challenging for medical professionals because there are .
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Lifestyle Changes Are Also Key To Early Ra Treatment
Niewold recommends taking the following steps to improve your health with RA:
- Stop smoking.There is some risk of getting RA from smoking, and if you continue to smoke while taking RA meds, they dont work as well you tend to have more disease activity and more damage.
- Engage in low-impact exercise.If you are able to get active and push back against stiffness, it goes away faster. Yoga is good because in involves both moving and stretching.
- Lose weight.Shedding extra pounds will mean less strain on your joints in general.
- Change your diet.Many people with RA say that following an anti-inflammatory diet has helped with their symptoms. Its hard to know if it really affects joint inflammation, but patients do report they have more energy and a little better mobility. Its a subtle effect its not a cure but its not a bad thing to try, says Niewold.
- Work with your rheumatologist to find the right treatment plan for you. And if at present you arent feeling relief from your course of disease management, dont give up, says Niewold. There are lots and lots of tools in the toolbox now.
When To See A Doctor For Your Arthritis Symptoms
Arthritis develops and progresses over time and many people are not able to figure out the condition until it has worsened. However, it can be treated to prevent permanent damage. And for that to happen, it is necessary to consult your doctor if you notice the above-stated symptoms.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the readers situation.
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Psa Symptoms: What Are The First Signs Of Psoriatic Arthritis
Arthritis, by definition, is characterized by the breakdown of the cartilage within the joints. If you are suffering from any type of arthritis, this is the general cause of the pain and stiffness in your joints. With over 100 types of arthritis, the top three most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. In this article, we will discuss the third most common type of arthritis: psoriatic arthritis .
Though Less Common Early
Early-onset arthritis strikes earlier in life than is typical, sometimes even in very young adults and children. Only 7% of diagnosed arthritis cases started between the ages of 18 and 44, which is why most people associate the disease with older age.
The symptoms of early-onset arthritis are the same as for any case of arthritis. A notable difference, however, is that people early-onset must live with them longer.
Early-onset arthritis is treatable. Putting together a team of professionals like your primary care provider, a rheumatologist , and a physical or occupational therapist can help you slow disease progression.
MonakoArtStudio / Getty Images
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Who Can Help With My Arthritis Pain
The dedicated team at Spectrum Orthopaedics has extensive experience diagnosing and treating many types of arthritis. Experts in pain control, we offer a variety of solutions for patients of all ages.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call us today at or . You can also fill out our simple online appointment request form right now so we can get started. We look forward to helping you live a more pain-free lifestyle.
Effects On Your Daily Life
- See a doctor or other relevant healthcare professional if youre unable to do everyday tasks due to joint or muscle pain.
- If youve lifted something heavy and hurt your back, for example, take some painkillers, apply some heat and try to stay active. If the pain doesnt ease after a couple of weeks or so, see a doctor.
Its important to see a doctor if you get any new symptoms or if you have any trouble with drugs youre taking.
If you have an appointment with a doctor, to help make sure you get the most out of it, you could take a list of questions with you and tick them off as they are discussed.
You could also keep a symptoms diary with details of how youre feeling in between appointments. Some people find that taking a friend or relative with them to an appointment can provide support and ensure that all important points are discussed.
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What Is Arthritis Prevention
Arthritis prevention or management of arthritis symptoms is possible with the help of simple lifestyle changes.
Here are some steps you can take for arthritis prevention:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight can lead to quick wear and tear of your joints. It is essential to stay a healthy body weight to avoid arthritis.
- Control your blood sugar: High levels of sugar in your blood can cause easy joint stiffness. Ensure to keep your blood sugar levels moderate.
- Exercise most days of the week: Regular physical engagement keeps your body flexible and improves the strength of your joints.
- Stop smoking: Smoking can put excessive stress on your tissues leading to their rapid degeneration.
- Avoid joint injury: If you suffer from a joint injury, you become predisposed to developing arthritis. Take precautions to stay clear of any joint injury.
- Add fish to your diet: Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient effectively helps in reducing joint inflammation.
Early Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
Like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition. That means instead of protecting your body from disease, the immune system turns against your body and attacks itself.
In addition to painful, swollen joints, the condition can cause rashes, eye redness and pain, and changes to the nails. Some people can get swelling of the whole finger or toe, which doctors refer to as sausage-like. This may help distinguish this condition from other types of arthritis.
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Arthritis Care In Maryland
If you have symptoms of arthritis in your upper extremities including the wrist, hand, elbow, and shoulder, turn to the experts at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder. Our orthopedic surgeons have advanced training and extensive experience in the delicate procedures required to relieve pain and to preserve or restore normal function. To find out more about the services we offer or to book a consultation, call us at or request an appointment online at one of our Greater Chesapeake locations.
Early Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
In the early stage, there are red, swelling, heat, pain and dysfunction. In the late stage, there are different degrees of stiffness and deformity, and bone and skeletal muscle atrophy. It is a disease with high disability rate.
From the point of view of pathological changes, rheumatoid arthritis is a kind of extensive inflammatory disease, which mainly involves the synovium , followed by serosa, heart, lung and eye and other connective tissue. Therefore, in addition to the above manifestations of arthritis, patients can also have other systemic manifestations, such as fever, fatigue, weight loss, subcutaneous nodules, pericarditis, pleurisy, peripheral neuropathy, eye lesions, arteritis, etc.
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Early Signs Of Arthritis In The Legs
The term arthritis refers to redness and swelling of the joints characterized by joint pain and stiffness. A joint is the area where two bones meet. The two bones at the site of the joint are separated by a cushioning tissue called the cartilage that protects the joint and facilitates proper movement. The joint space is lined by the synovial membrane that secretes a fluid called synovial fluid. Synovial fluid lubricates and protects the joints to allow for adequate movement. Arthritis may result when any of the joint structures are damaged. Leg arthritis affects the joints of the hips, knees, ankles, or feet. There are over 100 types of arthritis. The most common types of arthritis affecting the legs are
- Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs due to wear and tear of the joint cartilage that happens with increasing age.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: In this type of arthritis, the bodys immune system attacks and damages the joints.
- Gout: This occurs due to excessive deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints, which causes joint inflammation.
- : This refers to arthritis that occurs as a result of joint infection.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: This type of arthritis results because of injury or after a surgery or other invasive procedure on the joint.
- Psoriatic arthritis: People who suffer from a long-term skin condition, psoriasis, may develop psoriatic arthritis along with the skin manifestations such as plaques.
What Is Arthritis Of The Hand
Arthritis is a disease that attacks the tissues of your joints. A joint is where two bones meet. Arthritis can attack the lining of your joint or the cartilage, the smooth covering at the ends of bones. Eventually the cartilage breaks down, the ends of your bones become exposed, rub against each other and wear away. You have many joints in your hand, therefore its a common site for arthritis to happen.
Arthritis of the hand causes pain and swelling, stiffness and deformity. As arthritis progresses, you cant use your hands to manage everyday tasks as you once could.
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How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated
Joint damage generally occurs within the first two years of diagnosis, so its important to see your provider if you notice symptoms. Treating rheumatoid arthritis in this window of opportunity can help prevent long-term consequences.
Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include lifestyle changes, therapies, medicine and surgery. Your provider considers your age, health, medical history and how bad your symptoms are when deciding on a treatment.
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.
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