Wednesday, July 17, 2024

What Can You Do For Arthritis In Your Hands

What You Can Do

9 Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hands, by Dr. Andrea Furlan

Talk to your doctor if you suspect you have arthritis in your hands. Dont put it off. “We have drugs that very effectively treat these diseases,” Dr. Sparks says. “The earlier arthritis is treated, the more likely its a milder course. In the case of RA, we can prevent deformities, slow disease, and avoid other complications.”

Unfortunately, we dont have drugs to halt or slow osteoarthritis. Treatment involves controlling symptoms and improving function. “We often recommend taking oral painkillers such as acetaminophen , using topical painkillers such as diclofenac , using heat or cold therapy, and strengthening your hands,” Dr. Sparks says.

For any type of arthritis, you might benefit from wearing a splint or brace, using assistive devices that can help you with daily activities, and working with a certified hand therapist who can tailor therapy to your condition and develop work-arounds for the activities you now find challenging.

Can Anything Be Done For Arthritis In The Hands

Treating rheumatoid arthritis is easier than treating osteoarthritis .

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Help manage pain and reduce inflammation
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs: Reduce inflammation and prevent further damage
  • Cortisone injections: Hyaluronic acid helps lubricate the joints useful in OA
  • Splints: Help support the joint
  • Surgery: Joint replacement in case of severe damage to the joint

How Can Hand Arthritis Be Treated

Youll want to talk about various treatment options with your healthcare provider. Depending on the severity of your arthritis, you may want to consider:

  • Pain relievers such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Voltaren gel, which you can buy over the counter
  • Steroid injections for thumb arthritis
  • Glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen or turmeric supplementsthese supplements reduce pain for some people, but the FDA doesnt regulate them
  • Paraffin wax treatments, which you can do at hom
  • Hand warmers when your hands are coldDr. Panico explains that your joints can feel looser with heat and tighter with cold
  • Plant-based and anti-inflammatory diets, which might decrease the pain and stiffness from arthritis
  • Staying active, which contributes to your overall health

What about those copper-infused products that are marketed to people with arthritis? Their effectiveness hasnt been replicated in clinical trials and they may be no more effective than a placebo, Dr. Panico said.

Read Also: How To Treat Mild Arthritis In Knee

Do I Have Arthritis In The Hands

Arthritis is not always easy to diagnose. Most patients have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pain: Itis an early symptom of arthritis, in most cases as morning pain and stiffness. Activities that once were easy, such as opening a jar or starting the car engine become difficult due to pain in the hands
  • Swelling: This symptom is characterized by a series of signs that include pain, redness of the skin, and warmth. Warmthupon touch is due to the bodys inflammatory response.
  • Crepitations: When the articulation crepitates, it can be due to damaged cartilage surfaces rubbing against one another.
  • Other signs and symptoms: Other include joint tenderness, instability, effusion, limitation of range of movement and wasting of the muscles.

But even if you have these symptoms in your hands, you dont necessarily have arthritis. You will need several exams, including blood tests, X-rays, rheumatoid arthritis serology, and you may also need more advanced exams, as in joint aspiration.

Types Of Finger Arthritis

How to Prevent and Treat Osteoarthritis in the Hands

There are three types of arthritis that commonly affect the fingers:

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis, also called wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common type of finger arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes normal cartilage to wear away. This exposes bare bone at the joints. The most frequently affected joints in the hand are the knuckles of the mid-finger and fingertip and the joint at the base of the thumb.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis causes a different type of joint destruction. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that affects the whole body. It causes the immune system to attack the soft tissues surrounding the joints. The most commonly affected joints in the hand are the knuckles at the base of the fingers .
  • Gout: Gout is a condition that occurs when crystals develop within the joints. These crystals can form in one or more joints when there is too much of a substance called uric acid in the body. While the big toe is the most commonly affected part of the body, gout can also develop in finger joints.

Rarely, other types of arthritis can also cause problems in the fingers.

Read Also: How To Treat Knee Arthritis At Home

Learn New Cooking Skills

Whether you love to cook or not, chances are you at least stir sauce or chop veggies from time to time. Even these sous chef efforts benefit from joint protection to prevent arthritis hand pain. For example, instead of stirring the sauce with your thumb and finger wrapped around the handle, hold your thumb on top of the utensil like you were holding an ice pick and stabbing ice and stir using shoulder motion. This method takes pressure off the joints and utilizes your shoulder to stir the sauce. Dodge suggests using kitchen tools with large handles and electric appliances, such as a can and jar openers and food processors. Check out more kitchen hacks for easier meal prep.

Donât Miss: Does Glucosamine Help Arthritis Pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Hand/wrist

Rheumatoid arthritis of the hand is most common in the wrist and knuckles. Often the joints feel hot and look red. The disease is symmetric, thus what occurs in one hand usually occurs in the other.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand/Wrist

  • Sudden inability to straighten or bend a finger
  • Numbness and tingling in hand
  • May hear a squeaky sound as they move their hands and fingers
  • May feel a snap or locking sensation in the hand and fingers
  • Deformity in which the middle finger joint becomes bent
  • Deformity where the end of the finger is bent and the middle joint over extends

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand/Wrist Treatment Options

There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but medications are available that slow the progression of the disease. Optimal care involves a team approach among the patient, physicians, and therapists. The care of the rheumatoid patient requires not only a hand surgeon but also a hand therapist, rheumatologist, and the patientâs primary care physician. The rheumatologist is often the physician that monitors and decides the specific type of medicine that is felt to be the most effective for the patientâs stage in the disease process.

  • social information if applicable

Dont Miss: Are Eggs Bad For Psoriatic Arthritis

You May Like: What To Do For Arthritis In Toes

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.

How Are Wrists And Hands Affected By Arthritis

7 Helpful Hand Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Beginner Hand Workout

Any joint in your fingers, thumbs, knuckles and wrists can be affected by arthritis. Many different types of arthritis can affect your hands and cause joint pain, swelling and stiffness. People with hand arthritis often find their grip weakens and it becomes harder to do fine movements, such as turning a key or tying shoelaces.

Find out about aids and equipment that can make everyday tasks easier. Learn ways to protect your hands and manage your symptoms.

Recommended Reading: Is Red Meat Bad For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Read Also: Are Eggs Bad For Arthritis

Watch: Getting Started On Rheumatoid Arthritis Medications

This video is part of an educational project from researchers at Yale University, Berkshire Medical Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Hospital for Special Surgery, CreakyJoints and the Global Healthy Living Foundation, and ArthritisPower. It was made possible with support from the Rheumatology Research Foundation. Watch more videos from this series here.

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
  • Deformities in the affected hands and fingers
  • Fever, if the arthritis is due to an infection

Recommended Reading: Can Popping Your Fingers Cause Arthritis

What Do I Do If I Think I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

If youre experiencing joint pain and inflammation, its important that you discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Getting a diagnosis as soon as possible means that treatment can start quickly. Early treatment will help you to control the inflammation, manage pain more effectively and minimise the risk of long-term joint damage and disability.

If youre diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or suspected of having the condition, you may be referred to a medical specialist known as a rheumatologist for further investigations and medical treatment.

You May Like: What Do You Do For Arthritis In The Hands

Those Aches In Your Hands Could Be Arthritis Heres What Can Help

Home Remedies for Arthritis in Hands

Maybe one day you wake up with an ache in your fingers or at the base of your thumb. Or you feel a stab of pain when you pick up a dinner plate, cut your fingernails or turn a doorknob. You wonder if maybe you overdid it weeding your garden, or you have an overuse injury from computer work.

A lot of different things can cause hand pain, and one of them is osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Anyone can develop it, and your risk is higher if you are over 50 and female.

Brittany Panico, DO, a rheumatologist at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix, explained that if you have this type of arthritis in your hands, youll often feel it when you pinch or grip things. It most commonly affects the first two joints below your fingernails and the joint at the base of your thumb.

You May Like: Can Arthritis Cause Numbness In Hands

Exercises To Relieve Arthritis

The following exercises increase blood flow to cartilage, bringing it the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and prevent further breakdown. Consult your healthcare provider before starting these exercises to make sure theyre appropriate for you.

If so, the exercises are easy to do and can ease your arthritis pain:

The stronger your muscles are, the more weight they will be able to handle. Like other types of exercise, hand exercises won’t “work” overnight. But they should with time and repetition.

Tips For Preventing Arthritis

There is no known cure for arthritis. In fact, most treatments for arthritis are aimed at early recognition and prevention. Genetics can increase your likelihood for developing arthritis, as can a strong family history of the disease. Women are also more prone to arthritis than men.

You may try to prevent arthritis and still develop the disease. However, you can take actions to reduce your risk:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. This can help to fight off OA.
  • Dont smoke, or quit smoking. This may reduce your chance of developing RA.
  • Try to avoid injury when playing sports or participating in recreational activities.
  • If your job requires a lot of pushing, pulling, or lifting of heavy objects, take precautions to avoid injury to your joints.
  • If your job calls for a lot of typing, practice good posture. If necessary, get a special keyboard, wrist cushion, or pad.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Test For Rheumatoid Arthritis

How Common Is Arthritis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 54 million U.S. adults have arthritis. For about half of those people, arthritis limits their activities.

About 15 million people experience arthritis-related severe joint pain.

Arthritis is more common among women than men, and risk often increases with age.

Arthritis is also commonly diagnosed among those with other chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, and can make it more difficult for people to manage these chronic conditions.

Arthritis In Hands And Fingers

7 Tips to Reduce Hand Arthritis Pain (Physical Therapy Approved)

The process of osteoarthritis is complex. It affects bone, cartilage, soft tissue, and the connective tissue in your joints.

Osteoarthritis wears away the articular cartilage in a joint. Cartilage is the cushioning material between bones. This wearing away can cause swelling and irritation of the synovial lining, which produces the synovial fluid that helps protect and lubricate the joint.

When osteoarthritis affects the joints of your hands or fingers, it can cause:

  • joint deformity

The pain can get worse whenever you use your hand for repetitive tasks. For example, typing on a computer keyboard or gripping utensils in the kitchen can cause discomfort. You may also lose strength in your hands. This weakness can make it hard to do everyday tasks, such as opening jars.

Some medication options may help treat hand arthritis. For example, you can take oral pain-relieving medications.

You can also get steroid injections in your joints or splint your hands to give them support. If these options dont work, surgery may help to reduce pain.

Home treatments can also help to reduce the pain and other symptoms of osteoarthritis in your hands and fingers.

Hand and finger exercises can be a noninvasive way to:

  • keep your joints flexible
  • improve range of motion
  • relieve arthritis pain

Hand exercises can help strengthen the muscles that support the hand joints. This can help you perform hand movements with less discomfort.

  • Place the ball on a flat surface such as a table.
  • Release the ball.
  • Read Also: Do Muscle Relaxers Help With Arthritis

    What Is Involved In Reviewing Your Medical History And Your Current Symptoms

    When reviewing your medical history, your healthcare provider may ask the following questions:

    • Have you had any illnesses or injuries that may explain the pain?

    • Is there a family history of arthritis or other rheumatic diseases?

    • What medication are you currently taking?

    Your healthcare provider may also ask:

    • What symptoms are you having? For example, pain, stiffness, difficulty with movement, or swelling.

    • About your pain:

    Dont Miss: How To Describe Knee Pain To Your Doctor

    Exercise For Your Thumbs

    Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend hand exercises. You can do these exercises to improve your range of motion and your arthritis symptoms.

    Simple exercises can include a thumb stretch, in which you attempt to touch the tip of your thumb to just under your pinky finger.

    Another stretch, called IP, uses flexion. It requires you to hold your thumb stable with your other hand and attempt to bend just the upper part of the thumb. An additional exercise is to simply touch the tips of each of your fingers to the tip of your thumb.

    You should only do these exercises after consulting with your doctor or physical therapist. Be sure to get instructions to make sure youre doing the movements correctly.

    You May Like: Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Be Fatal

    Types Of Arthritis In Hands

    The 5 types of arthritis in the hands include:

  • Osteoarthritis: Caused by degenerative changes in the joints due to age-related wear and tear
  • Characterized by pain and stiffness in the hands
  • Symptoms are worse in the dominant hand
  • Absence of warmth and redness of the affected joint
  • Morning stiffness for a short period, often eases in just 5 to 15 minutes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Autoimmune inflammation of the small joints
  • Characterized by pain and stiffness in the hands, especially in the morning
  • Symptoms are present in both the hands
  • Presence of warmth and redness in the affected joint
  • Prolonged morning stiffness of the hands that usually lasts for an hour or more
    • Tingling and numbness in the fingers
    • Deformities such as Bouchardâs nodes and Heberdenâs nodes

    How To Prevent Arthritis In Your Hands: 5 Tips

    Pin by Alexis Raybon on Health , treatment and prevention.

    18 January, 2021

    To prevent arthritis in your hands isnt an impossible mission. Early diagnostic studies can warn a person early on if theyre at risk. Once diagnosed, appropriate medical treatment should be undertaken as early as possible.

    That early diagnosis also provides us with the opportunity to take advantage of some advice thats both practical and effective. In this article, well review the guidelines you should follow to help prevent arthritis in your hands.

    Recommended Reading: What Does Arthritis Look Like In The Hip

    What Other Questions About First

    Despite how common this form of osteoarthritis is and how much trouble it causes, many questions remain. It would be helpful to know:

    • Why does osteoarthritis develop in the joints of the hand in the first place?
    • How can osteoarthritis be slowed, stopped, or reversed?
    • How long does the improvement provided by occupational therapy last in people who have osteoarthritis of the first CMC?
    • If symptoms improve after an initial course of occupational therapy and come back later, will repeat treatments work as well?
    • Does occupational therapy work as well for men with this type of arthritis as it does for women?
    • Does it work as well for severe arthritis as for milder cases?
    • What elements of occupational therapy are most important, and are they widely accessible? For example, is bracing more important than exercise, and are certain braces or exercises better than others? Are experienced occupational therapists readily available for most people with this condition?

    Popular Articles
    Related news