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What Causes Arthritis In Your Hands

What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis Of The Hand

Arthritis In Hands – Critical Basics To Know If You Want To Be Pain Free

Pain is the most common presenting symptom of osteoarthritis of the hand. It usually progresses in intensity over time. In the beginning the pain may occur only with activity and be relieved by rest. Late in the disease, the pain may be a constant, dull ache.

Stiffness of the joint is also a common complaint. This is due to the excess synovial fluid that builds up in the joint. Stiffness is usually worse in the morning or after a long period of inactivity.

The joints of the hand may become widened, enlarged, and deformed. Bony lumps, called nodes, may grow on the finger joints. Heberdens nodes occur on the joint closest to the fingertip, and Bouchards nodes can be found on the middle finger joint. Digital Mucoid Cysts, which are a subtype of Ganglion Cyst, may occur on the joint closest to the fingertip as well.

About Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Hand

Rheumatoid arthritis affects the cells that line and normally lubricate the joints . This is a systemic condition , which means that it may affect multiple joints, usually on both sides of the body. The joint lining becomes inflamed and swollen and erodes the cartilage and bone. The swollen tissue may also stretch the surrounding ligaments, which are the connective tissues that hold the bones together, resulting in deformity and instability. The inflammation may also spread to the tendons, which are the rope-like structures that link muscles to bones. This can result in stretching out of and ruptures of the tendons. Rheumatoid arthritis of the hand is most common in the wrist and the finger knuckles .

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.

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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

Changes In Surrounding Joints

Hand cramps: Symptoms, causes, and home remedies

In patients with advanced thumb base arthritis, the neighboring joints may become more mobile than normal.

Thumb extension deformity. This patient has lost mobility at the base of the thumb due to arthritis. The next joint closer to the tip of the thumb has become more mobile than normal to make up for the arthritic joint. Normally, the thumb does not come to a right angle with the rest of the hand.

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Arthritis In Hands: Signs Complications And How Can You Manage It

More than likely, you know of at least one person who has arthritis. Its quite a common condition. Or even, you probably have it. Its common, yes, but not quite well understood. There are different types.

The pain you get from pain may not be frequent but it may cause reduced motion in your affected joint, some deformity and even in terms of function.

Arthritis affects almost any joint in your body but it mostly affects your hand and wrist. So, hand arthritis which is also known as rheumatoid arthritis is a disorder that affects the joints in your hands.

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One of the worst things about growing older is the joint pain most of us will inevitably experience. For some, it’s not just a matter of a lack of exercise, but the result of joint inflammation. If you’re one of the 30% of people between the ages of 18 and 64 who live with that discomfort daily,

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Here Are Several Signs Of Arthritis In The Hands:

  • Pain and stiffness in your joints, especially the hand and wrist, when you wake up in the morning.
  • Swelling and pain in your hands and fingers as well.
  • The skin on your hands may be red and inflamed.
  • It hurts to use your hands or muscles.
  • Your hand pops or makes a grating sound when you move it.
  • Loss of muscle mass on your hands.
  • Little, bony bumps on your hands.
  • The skin on your hands is warm.
  • Deformed hands.
  • Fever, if you have an infection.
  • Psoriatic arthritis in your hands.
  • If you are experiencing any of these signs, it is advised to contact your primary care provider. They can discuss and diagnose arthritis, along with treatment options for you as well.

    There are several treatments for those with arthritic hands. Arthritis in hands is not untreatable.

    What Causes Arthritis In The Hand

    How do I know whether my Hand pains are Rheumatoid Arthritis?

    There are many factors that could be responsible for causing arthritis of the hand. Some of them are:

    • Family Genetics In case you have an immediate family member with arthritis of the hand, then you may actually be at risk.
    • Occupation If your day to day work involves repetitive physical movements for long periods of time, you may be at risk.
    • Sports-related injury You may develop arthritis of the hand if you sustain a joint injury during high-impact sports activities.

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    Professional Hand Pain Treatments

    After consulting your physician, he or she may recommend the following treatments.

    • Prescription medications: Your doctor may prescribe pain medications for advanced hand pain. Corticosteroids can be taken orally or injected to control inflammation.
    • Surgery: Procedures of varying degrees may be required to repair damaged bones or ligaments. Arthroscopic or minimally invasive surgical techniques are sometimes used for arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
    • Physical therapy: Physical therapists can develop programs to help strengthen muscles and tendons. Qualified doctors and physical therapists will recommend specific exercises to lessen the strain on joints and reduce hand pain symptoms.

    Hands are critical components in both our work and personal lives. Everything from typing a report to picking up our children to preparing a meal relies on our hands. It can be debilitating when our hands hurt, but by exercising preventative measures and seeking appropriate treatment, the hand pain symptoms can often be managed.

    When To See A Doctor For Hand Pain

    It is advisable to schedule an appointment with your doctor for any of the following hand pain symptoms:

    • Hand pain accompanied by fever and signs of infection: Especially following a puncture wound
    • Inability to move or bend fingers or wrist
    • Pain that does not improve over several weeks

    Hand pain symptoms can be debilitating and greatly impact your daily life. Several steps can be taken to treat the pain, particularly if you have a known condition like arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

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    How Arthritis Of The Hand Is Diagnosed

    Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis In Your Hands

    Your doctor will examine you and determine whether you have similar symptoms in other joints and assess the impact of the arthritis on your life and activities. The clinical appearance of the hands and fingers helps to diagnose the type of arthritis. X-rays will also show certain characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis, such as narrowing of the joint space, swelling and diminished bone density near the joints, and erosions of the bone. If your doctor suspects rheumatoid arthritis, he or she may request blood or other lab tests to confirm the diagnosis.

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    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.

    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 .


    Steroid injections

    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:

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    Why Do My Hands Hurt: Arthritis And Other Culprits

    Patricia Chaney Bone and Joint Health , Article

    Do you find that sometimes you get an achy feeling in your fingers or wrist? Do you have trouble moving your fingers or gripping things? It might just feel tingly, or it might be a burning pain. It comes and goes, so you’re not sure whether to worry about it. You just wonder: Why do my hands hurt? Here are three possible culprits for your hand pain and how to address them.

    How Can You Prevent Arthritis In Your Hands

    How Can You Tell If You Have Arthritis In Your Hands And Fingers?

    If you have a family history that includes any type of Arthritis or if you have experienced a difficult trauma in your life, then it is for the best if you follow a few, simple prevention tips just to increase your chances of avoiding Arthritis.

    So how can you prevent Arthritis in your hands and fingers? Maintaining a healthy weight, staying away from alcohol and smoking and including some type of physical activity are some of the best prevention tips that any doctor can give you. Simple hand and wrist exercises can help you to preserve your hand and finger function.

    A healthy lifestyle is what will help you to avoid not only Arthritis but most of the popular diseases of the 21st century. So many joint supplement reviews available online, such as Relief Factor Review that may help you to alleviate joint pain.

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    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.


    Recognizing Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Hands

    Women are more likely than men to have arthritis in their hands, and often people experience arthritis symptoms in their hands before other signs of arthritis show up. Different forms of arthritis affect the hands in different ways. For example, psoriatic arthritis, a type of arthritis related to the skin condition psoriasis, is most likely to cause pain in the joints closest to the fingernails , while in osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, cartilage can wear down in all the joints in the fingers and thumb. Symptoms of arthritis in the hands may include:

    • Pain in some or all of the joints, including joints of the fingers, wrists, and thumbs
    • The growth of bony knobs on finger joints
    • Numbness in fingers
    • Swollen, red, or warm joints
    • Stiffness in the fingers, especially in the morning in patients who have rheumatoid arthritis
    • Growth of lumps, or nodules, under the skin of the hands in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
    • Fingers that look like swollen sausages in patients with psoriatic arthritis
    • Difficulty with motions that require gripping and twisting, such as opening jars

    The progression of arthritis in the hands can actually be measured. People with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis lose bone density, which can be measured with bone-density scanning, while the joint damage of osteoarthritis can usually be seen on X-rays.

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    How Is Arthritis In The Hands And Fingers Diagnosed

    A physical exam is the first thing that your doctor would do. X-rays and an MRI are done as well just to determine at which stage is the inflammation. These techniques will help your doctor to find out which symptoms are present and what is the most proper treatment option.

    If the doctor thinks that it is Rheumatoid Arthritis that he/she is dealing with, then blood tests might be done as well.

    Hand Osteoarthritis Causes And Risk Factors

    Osteoarthritis &  Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Wrist

    Osteoarthritis was once thought to happen because of wear and tear on your joints. Doctors now know thereâs more to the story.

    On the ends of your bones, there’s a layer of smooth material called cartilage. It helps cushion your joints and allows them to slide easily. But over time, the cartilage gets worn down. The bones rub against each other, causing the symptoms of OA. The wear and tear can also cause other tissues in the joint to make inflammatory cells, which damage it more.

    Certain things can make you more likely to have hand OA:

    • Age. The older you are, the higher your odds.
    • Sex. Compared with men, women are twice as likely to get it.
    • Ethnicity. Rates are lower in African Americans.
    • Weight. Thinner people are less likely to get it than those who have obesity.
    • Injuries. This includes broken and dislocated bones.
    • Changes in your genes. Your parents might have passed down a higher chance of OA.
    • Joint problems. This includes infections, loose ligaments, overuse, and joints that arenât aligned the way they should be.

    What causes flare-ups?

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    What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The carpal tunnel is on the palm side of your wrist, surrounded by bones and ligaments. It protects the main nerve to your hand, known as the median nerve, as well as the nine tendons that bend your fingers. The median nerve provides sensation to the palm side of your thumb and fingers, except your little finger. It also provides nerve signals to move the muscles around the base of your thumb.

    Carpal tunnel syndrome stems from anything that crowds, irritates or compresses the median nerve, such as a wrist fracture, swelling or inflammation. This condition causes tingling and numbness in your fingers and hand, often when youre holding a steering wheel, phone or newspaper. This sensation can even wake you up from sleeping and may extend from your wrist up your arm.

    When carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers experience this sensation, they often shake out their hands to relieve this symptom. This disorder usually starts gradually, with the numbness and tingling coming and going. As it progresses, the numb feeling may become constant.

    With carpal tunnel syndrome, you may also feel weakness in your hand and have a tendency to drop things youre holding. This symptom can be caused by the numbness or weakness of the thumbs pinching nerve, which is controlled by the median nerve.

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