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.
Consider Topical Pain Medication
Over the counter gels, balms, creams, or patches are ideal for hand joints, which lie just below the skin. Regardless of how they are applied, most topical arthritis pain relievers fall into these categories:
- Salicylates, which have mild anti-inflammatory effects
- Counterirritants, which distract from pain
- Capsaicin products, which distract from pain and may have a role in blocking pain signals
- Cannabidiol products
- Lidocaine products, which work as local anesthetics
While topical products are generally safe, their ingredients can enter the bloodstream and produce side effects or interact with other medications. Its advisable to talk to a doctor or pharmacist before trying any new medication.
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.
Also Check: How To Deal With Arthritis
Types Of Arthritis In Hands
The 5 types of arthritis in the hands include:
- Tingling and numbness in the fingers
- Deformities such as Bouchardâs nodes and Heberdenâs nodes
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.
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With Arthritis
For Hands And Fingers
There are a number of things you can do at home to help relieve your symptoms. Once you meet with your doctor, they can make a diagnosis and help you develop a treatment plan suited to your needs.
You may also find relief by:
- massaging the affected areas
- applying a hot or cold compress to reduce swelling
- wearing hand splints to help stabilize and protect your wrist and fingers
- taking regular breaks when typing or writing
- performing hand and wrist exercises to help stretch and strengthen the muscles
Drink Nettle Tea For Pain Relief From Arthritis In Hands
The herb nettle has active compounds that help reduce inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines can be understood as messengers of cells that cause inflammation due to immune responses. The active compound of nettle leaves, in fact, inhibits the protein that activates of these cytokines in the synovial tissue lining the joints. This stops swelling and pain in fingers and hands as well as other joints in the body. You may make nettle tea as described below.
- Add fresh nettle leaves to the water.
- Bring this water to a near boiling point.
- Reduce the heat to simmer and let it infuse for 10-15 minutes.
- Strain and have it twice a day.
- If using dried leaves, do not boil. Pour hot water over the dried herb and steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain and have it.
- Honey can be used to enhance the taste of nettle tea.
You May Like: Arthritis Flare Up In Hands
Exercise #: Make An O
Start with your left hand pointing straight up. Then, curve all of your fingers inward until they touch. Your fingers should form the shape of an O. Hold this position for a few seconds. Then straighten your fingers again. Repeat this exercise a few times a day on each hand. You can do this stretch whenever your hands feel achy or stiff.
Part 7 of 9: Table Bend
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.
You May Like: Rheumatoid Arthritis And Muscle Cramps
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
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.
You May Like: Mayo Clinic Arthritis Treatment
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
Avoid Working Through The Pain
The most important thing to remember is to avoid working through the pain. Pain is a sign that you need to stop what you are doing, take a break from the task, and modify the task so you can perform it in a pain-free manner.
To find an excellent doctor who is right for you, please call our Physician Referral Service at 866.804.1007.
Also Check: High Rheumatoid Factor Causes
Osteoarthritis In Fingers And Joints In Hands
Osteoarthritis is an arthritic condition that affects the whole joint including bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles. While this form ofarthritis can affect other areas of the body, fingers and hands are very common. In osteoarthritis, the joint at the base of the thumb isoften affected and can result in difficulty gripping or pinching objects. Other finger joints can also be affected and bumps calledHerbedens nodes and Bouchards nodes may appear in the joint at the end of the finger, closest to the nail or the middle joints.
Use Heat Or Cold Safely
- Use either heat or cold for only 15-20 minutes at a time. Let your skin return to its normal temperature before using another application.
- Always put a towel between your skin and any type of pack.
- Always follow the advice of your physical therapist or doctor carefully when using these methods especially heat.
- Check your skin before and after using heat or cold.
- Use milder temperatures for a child’s skin because it is more sensitive than an adult’s skin.
- Do not use either heat or cold if you have open cuts or sores.
- Do not use cold packs if you have poor circulation or vasculitis.
- Do not use heat that is too hot or cold that is too cold. It is normal for your skin to appear pink after using a hot or cold pack. If an area appears dark red or spotty red and white there may be some skin damage. Blisters also appear if the pack was too hot or too cold.
- Do not use creams, heat rubs or lotions on your skin while using a hot or cold treatment.
- Do not make your bath or shower water too hot. This may cause dizziness or fatigue.
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With Arthritis
Simple Ways To Manage Hand Osteoarthritis
When osteoarthritis affects your hands, everyday activities such as opening jars and using a cell phone can be difficult. Arthritic joints in the hands or wrists may be painful, stiff, and weaker than normal. Thankfully, there are many ways to help manage this condition.
Osteoarthritis in the hand or wrist joints can make it hard to open jars or grip objects. SeeRecognizing Osteoarthritis in the Hand
Read on to learn 5 simple strategies for coping with osteoarthritic pain in the hand.
Dandelion Tea For Hand Arthritis Pain Relief
This is yet another herbal remedy to get relief from pain due to arthritis in hands. Dandelion leaves are a rich source of vitamins A and C. Therefore, they can repair the damaged tissues that lead to inflammation and pain in the body. They also have anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of linoleic fatty acid in them. Linoleic acid regulates the production of prostaglandin in our body to help regulate immune responses to combat inflammation. While you can add dandelion leaves to your salads and soups, a better way to treat arthritis pain is to make dandelion tea.
Read Also: Meds For Arthritis In Back
Use Heat Or Ice For Arthritis Pain Relief In Hands
Arthritis in hands is a chronic condition and as such both cold and heat can help reduce swelling which in turn relieves pain. Now what to use- Heat or Cold pack? Doctors say whatever feels better to you should be used. However, it is always recommended consult your doctor before applying heat as well as ice to your arthritic hands because everybody respond to pain differently. There are, however, certain general rules regarding use of heat and cold for arthritis pain in hands.
When to Use Cold for Arthritis Pain in Hands
The general rule is that cold packs or ice are best for injuries like bruises, sprains or acute trauma. Trauma like fractures and dislocations are major causes of arthritis in hands. You can also use ice for flair of pain that you feel after an activity. Cold packs act as an analgesic. It numbs the sore region and reduce swelling fast to give you relief from pain.
How to Apply Ice for Pain Relief?
Cold packs should be applied for only 10-20 minutes at a time. More than this can hurt you.
When to Use Heat for Arthritis Pain in Hands
How to Apply Heat for Pain Relief?
Too much heat can burn your skin and affect your condition in a worse way. The heat applied should be just enough because hands heat up very easily as the tissue there is not too deep.
Understanding Arthritis In Hands
Your hand and wrist are made up of multiple small joints essential to produce motion. If your joints in hands like those in wrist or fingers get affected by arthritis, even your daily routine will get affected due to painful and, in worst cases, non-movement of the joints in hands. Your hands move smoothly due to a tissue called articular cartilage which covers the ends of bones and gives a smooth gliding surface for your joint. Along with cartilage, an oil like fluid produced by joint lining called synovium is also responsible for smooth functioning of joints as it keeps the smooth surface lubricated. When cartilage or the lubricating fluid or both or even synovium get affected due to various causes of arthritis, you suffer from pain and inflammation in your hands.
Read Also: How To Deal With Arthritis
Relief For Hand Arthritis
There’s more to optimizing care than pain medication. See a hand therapist to obtain a personalized strategy.
Wear-and-tear osteoarthritis is very common in the knees and hips, but it strikes the hands, too. When the cushioning cartilage within the finger joints begins to break down, leading to pain and inflammation, all the usual remedies apply, such as appropriate use of medication.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
- Research health conditions
- Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Hot And Cold Treatments
Using either heat or cold treatments can reduce the stiffness and pain of arthritis.
Cold packs numb the sore area. They are especially good for severe joint pain and swelling caused by a flare . Heat treatments relax your muscles. You can use dry heat methods such as a heating pad or heat lamp or moist heat methods, such as a bath or hydrocollator pack.
You May Like: Rheumatoid Arthritis Trigger
What Causes Arthritis Pain
Many different diseases and conditions cause chronic pain. One of the most common is arthritis, a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the joints. Other common types of chronic pain are backache, muscle pain, headache and sore feet.
Arthritis pain is caused by:
- inflammation, the process that causes the redness and swelling in your joints
- damage to joint tissues caused by the disease process or from wear and tear
- muscle strain caused by overworked muscles attempting to protect your joints from painful movements
- fatigue caused by the disease process which can make your pain seem worse and harder to handle
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
Also Check: Reduce Arthritis Swelling In Fingers
Soak And Exercise Hands In Warm Water
Many people with hand OA report that soaking their hands in warm water in the morning assists in decreasing the stiffness.
Begin by filling a clean sink or large basin with warm water.
If swelling is also noted, add approximately ¼ cup of Epsom salt to the water to assist in decreasing the swelling.
While soaking the hands, gently perform range-of-motion exercises, such as opening and closing the fingers and spreading the fingers apart and then back together.
If you notice hand stiffness during a time when soaking is not an option, you can perform the same range-of motion exercises under running water.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In Hands And Fingers
While not everyone with arthritis in the joints in hands will experience all of these symptoms and some people may not even have anysymptoms at all, below are some common symptoms for hand arthritis:
- Joint pain. This is initially experienced as a dull, burning sensation after a particularly busy day. As arthritisadvances, the pain becomes sharper and more constant, even occurring at rest.
- Joint stiffness. This is common in the morning but also occurs after a long day of work or activity involving the hands
- Crepitus. This is a grinding, grating feeling or a crunchy sound in the hands or wrists on movement.
- Weakness. It can begin to get difficult to grasp an object or maintain a strong grip or pinch.
- Warmth or redness. It is common to feel warmth or redness where the joint, ligaments or tissues have become inflamed.
- Swelling. Swollen joints in fingers, hands and thumbs are very common and can lead to a puffier appearance.
- Loss of movement. Particularly as arthritis progresses, you may notice loss of movement in the affected joints.
- Joint shape. You may notice changes in joint shape, or a slight turn in the direction of a finger or thumb.This is usually caused by uneven wearing of cartilage or weakness surrounding tissues or ligaments.
- Knobbly or crooked fingers. Bone spurs can give a knobbly or crooked appearance to fingers and thumbs, and in some casescan also reduce the function of fingers or thumbs.
Also Check: How To Deal With Arthritis