Medications For Thumb Arthritis
Medications used for pain include over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and injectable medications.
OTC medications that can help with pain include acetaminophen , nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , and supplements.
OTC NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen . NSAIDs in high doses may cause health problems, so be sure not to take more than is recommended on the package or by your doctor.
There are supplements with some evidence of efficacy. These include glucosamine and chondroitin, which are available as pills and powders. Additionally, capsaicin skin creams applied to the thumb may help relieve pain.
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.
Reducing The Strain On Your Hands And Wrists
We use our hands a lot in daily life. If you have osteoarthritis in your hands or wrists, taking some time to think about how you use them, and how you could reduce the strain on them, can bring great benefits. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your hands, just that you should think about ways of using them differently.
It may be helpful to see an occupational therapist or hand therapist, who will be able to offer a lot of useful advice on this. But many people discover for themselves different ways of doing things that help to ease the strain on their joints. Examples include:
- using gadgets such as electric tin openers or tools with softer, chunkier handles that don’t need such a tight grip
- using a backpack or shopping trolley to avoid carrying heavy bags in your hands
- taking more frequent breaks from tasks that put more strain on your joints or switching between harder and easier jobs
- using both hands for some of the tasks that you normally do one-handed
- having taps or door handles changed for those that are easier to use
- looking out for easy-to-handle fastenings when choosing clothing or shoes.
Find out more about looking after your joints.
Also Check: What Is The Best Cream For Arthritis Pain
Hand Rheumatoid Arthritis Signs And Symptoms
The first signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may appear in the small joints of the hands. The fingers, thumbs, and wrists may be painful and swollen, with no clear cause. If left untreated, RA symptoms may become more severe over time, and certain joint deformities may develop.
Weight Management And Diet
Although the link between your weight and osteoarthritis of the hands may be less clear than for weight-bearing joints such as the knees, some research shows that being overweight increases inflammation and therefore pain. Therefore, if you have osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist, it still makes sense to try to maintain, or achieve, a healthy weight.
Read Also: What Helps Lower Back Arthritis
How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. It is a lifelong disease with multiple flare-ups and periods of remission . There are various treatment options available to control the progression of the disease and prevent complications. Treatment may usually involve a combination of more than one treatment modality. The treatment options are
- NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Steroids: Corticosteroid medications suppress the immune system. They reduce inflammation and pain and delay joint damage.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs : These drugs are effective in the treatment of RA. They suppress inflammation and relieve symptoms. They can slow the progression, prevent joint deformities and decrease the risk of systemic complications. Some commonly prescribed DMARDs are methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine and leflunomide .
- Biological modifiers: These are a newer generation of DMARDs and they are usually taken with DMARDs. They suppress inflammation. Some commonly used biological agents are infliximab, rituximab, sarilumab, etc.
What Are The Signs Of Arthritis In The Hands
May 19, 2021
Achy, swollen hands? Stiffness in your wrists? Its common to assume these are symptoms of arthritis. While 40 million Americans suffer from arthritis, its far less frequent in the hands than people expect. Instead, what many mistake for arthritis is actually tendonitis. Let’s look at the difference between arthritis and other conditions, risk factors and treatments.
Read Also: How To Relieve Arthritis Pain In Your Hands
Hand Osteoarthritis Home Remedies
These home treatments can help:
- Exercises. Your doctor or physical therapist can show you what to do to improve strength and range of motion and to ease pain.
- Assistive devices. Special pens, kitchen utensils, and other tools with big grips may be easier to use.
- Ice or heat. Ice may reduce swelling and pain. Heat, like a warm washcloth or a paraffin bath, can loosen stiff joints.
- Skin treatments. Medicated creams can give relief when you rub them on sore joints. Gels with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also help.
- Supplements. Many people take glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for OA. Researchers are still looking into whether they help. Ask your doctor if they’re OK to try.
What Are The Early Signs Of Arthritis In The Hands
The early symptoms of arthritis may vary depending on several factors such as the type of arthritis, age of the individual and which joint is involved.
Some of the early signs and symptoms of hand arthritis include
- Stiffness in the joints, especially in the morning
- Pain or ache in the affected area
- Swelling at the affected site
- The skin over the affected joint that may appear red and inflamed
- Loss of function of the involved joint or muscle
- A grating sensation or popping sound when the joint moves
- Loss of muscle mass at the affected site
- Presence of small, bony bump-like swellings on the hand
- The skin over the affected joint may be warm to the touch
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Deformities in the affected hands and fingers
- Fever, if the arthritis is due to an infection
You May Like: Skin Rash And Arthritis
How Is Ra In The Hands Treated
Theres no cure for RA, but treatment can help reduce joint pain and swelling and improve the ability to perform day-to-day activities. For the most part, RA in the hands is managed with the same medications and treatment options used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in general. However, some treatments are specific to hand and finger RA.
See what rheumatologist Dr. Ashira Blazer says about managing pain and stiffness in fingers and wrists.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
If you suspect you may have RA or if you have any of the symptoms listed above, it is important to speak to your healthcare provider. As mentioned previously, RA can lead to significant issues in the lungs, eyes, nerves, and blood vessels. In fact, it may even lead to death overtime if left untreated.
Fortunately, RA can be effectively treated with the proper medication in a large percentage of individuals. Because of this, it is crucial to be evaluated by a qualified practitioner who is skilled in treating the disease.
Read Also: How To Deal With Arthritis
What Is Hand Arthritis
Arthritis refers to a medical condition that involves inflammation of one or more joints in the body. Arthritis may cause joint destruction and necessitate joint replacement if the disability is severe enough.
A joint is the area where two bones meet. Within joints is a tissue called cartilage that acts as a cushion between two bony surfaces. Synovial fluid within joints protects them and helps facilitate movement. Synovial fluid is secreted by the inner lining of the joint called the synovial membrane. Hand arthritis occurs when there is inflammation in one or more joints of the hand and wrist. There are over 100 types of arthritis. A few of the common types of arthritis that affect the hands are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis , psoriatic arthritis and gout. The two most common types of arthritis that affect the hands are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Hand osteoarthritis occurs when there is wear and tear of one or more joints of the hand as seen with increasing age. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the bodys immune system attacks the joints of the hand.
Can I Stop Arthritis From Getting Worse
Its not possible to halt the progression of arthritis. Dietary supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin or turmeric are widely used and many patients find them helpful, although there is limited scientific evidence to prove their worth.
Medical treatment aims to reduce the pain caused by arthritis. Ibuprofen or similar medication, either taken by mouth or in the form of a gel is usually the first line of treatment. Steroids can also be injected into painful joints and this can be effective for several months.
Recommended Reading: How To Ease Arthritis Pain In Fingers
How To Treat Rheumatoid Nodules
Specific treatment for rheumatoid nodules isnt generally advised. This is because most nodules are only unsightly as opposed to debilitating, and therefore are not aggressively treated. However, if nodules cause the skin to become infected or ulcerated, then treatment will be necessary.
Nodules that form on the heels or beneath the feet can be debilitating to the patient limiting their mobility. In these cases, treatment would not just be advised but likely necessary.
Certain disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs have been known to reduce the appearance of rheumatoid nodules. Other treatments like steroid injections can also help to decrease the size of rheumatoid nodules.
Some patients report that even after treatment or having their rheumatoid nodules removed, they do grow back. Unfortunately, the nature of rheumatoid arthritis and its symptoms mean that the nodules can recur after treatment.
With this in mind, it is important to have a discussion with your physician about your symptoms, and the available treatment options that can help reduce the size of rheumatoid nodules or even remove them.
What Are Rheumatoid Arthritis Nodules
Rheumatoid nodules are firm, noticeable lumps that form underneath the skin of some rheumatoid arthritis patients. They generally form on or near the base of the arthritic joints.
Typically, rheumatoid nodules appear in the following locations:
- Fingers and knuckles
- Backs of heels
Less commonly, nodules may form in the eyes, lungs and vocal cords but these represent severe cases.
Furthermore, rheumatoid nodules can vary in size and shape. Most nodules have a circular shape, however, some can be linear in shape as well. Also, they can range from small and pea-sized to as large as a walnut. When rheumatoid nodules form a cluster of tiny nodules, they are referred to as micro-nodules. This severe, less common case of micro-nodules generally occurs around the arthritic finger joints.
Though nodules are firm or even doughy to the touch and dont cause any feelings of tenderness, they can occasionally be painful. Pain typically occurs when flare-ups are active and the joints become inflamed such that it impacts the nodules and the area around them.
Rheumatoid nodules are capable of moving around but some form a connection with the tendons or tissue beneath the skin and become fixed.
Don’t Miss: First Symptoms Of Ra
Treatment Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Treatment is designed to relieve pain and restore function. If you have rheumatoid arthritis in your hands, medications can help decrease inflammation, relieve pain and slow the progression of the disease. Anti-inflammatory medications, oral steroids, and/or cortisone injections may be used. Several disease-modifying treatments are now available, including anti-malarial drugs, methotrexate, cyclosporine, gold, and other new drugs that help suppress the bodys immune system to reduce the inflammation and pain. A rheumatologist will often prescribe and monitor these types of medications. Your physician may also refer you to a hand therapist for exercises, splints, treatments such as paraffin baths, and instruction on how to use your hands in ways that may help relieve pain and pressure and also protect your joints. Adaptive devices may help you cope with the activities of daily living.
Surgery to treat the arthritic joints includes removal of inflamed joint linings, joint replacements, joint fusions, and in some cases, removal of damaged bone. The specific procedure depends on a variety of factors, including the particular joint involved, the degree of damage present, the condition of adjacent joints, and your own needs. Your hand surgeon can help you decide on the most appropriate treatment for you.
- Program Director, Hand Surgery Fellowship
- Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Cold Or Discolored Fingers
People with RA are at a higher risk of developing another condition called Raynauds syndrome, which causes color and temperature changes in the fingers.
This issue occurs when the blood vessels in the fingers narrow and decrease even further in size. As a result of this, less blood flow is able to get through to your hands and fingers. Typically the effects of the syndrome are more severe in people whose Raynauds is the result of another condition like RA.
Individuals with Raynauds become extremely sensitive to cold temperatures and may notice their fingers turning a white or blueish color as the blood flow diminishes. Numbness, tingling, or sensitivity in the hands may also accompany these changes. In severe cases, ulceration of the skin or even gangrene can develop if your Raynauds is not properly treated by a healthcare provider.
You May Like: 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.
Early Signs Of Arthritis In Fingers
Arthritis will affect approximately 67 million people in the United States by the year 2030, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 4. Two main types of arthritis affect the fingers. Osteoarthritis is a condition caused by the progressive breakdown of cartilage that provides padding between bones in the joints 3. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to mistakenly attack joint tissues. Early signs of arthritis in the fingers include pain, warmth, swelling, stiffness and weakness.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Read Also: Hand Inflammation Treatment
Coping With Finger Arthritis
It can be very difficult having a degenerative illness, because it feels like youll never get better. And while it is true that arthritis is generally not completely curable, many people learn to manage their symptoms and live perfectly happy and productive lives.
Here are some tips for coping with arthritis:
- Seek treatment: It can be easy to want to go it alone, but a doctor can help connect you with resources and prescribe you with medication that could be the difference between surviving and thriving.
- Seek support from others: Ask for help when you need it from family members and friends, and if your condition is having a strong effect on your mental health, you may consider seeking out a chronic pain support group in your area.
With support from family, friends, and medical providers, you can live your life to the fullest, and not let finger arthritis control your world.
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.
You May Like: Is Banana Good For Arthritis
Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
If you have osteoarthritis in your knees, both your knees will usually be affected over time, unless it occurred as the result of an injury or another condition affecting only 1 knee.
Your knees may be most painful when you walk, particularly when walking up or down hills or stairs.
Sometimes, your knees may “give way” beneath you or make it difficult to straighten your legs. You may also hear a soft, grating sound when you move the affected joint.