When To Call A Doctor
if you have:
- Sudden, unexplained swelling and pain in any joint or joints.
- Joint pain associated with a fever or rash.
- Pain that is so severe that you cannot use the joint.
- Back or neck pain along with weakness in your arms or legs.
- Loss of bowel or bladder control.
- Joint pain that continues and has not improved for over 6 weeks.
- Side effects that occur with large doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other medicine used to treat your arthritis. NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen .
Being Overweight Or Obese
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop arthritis. Research has shown that for every pound that you weigh, your knees have 4 pounds of stress on them. Extra weight also burdens joints in your hips, back, and feet. Additional weight places increased strain and wear and tear on your joints. In addition to the physical stress that increased weight places on joints, fat secretes inflammatory chemicals that may also cause joint pain and increase the risk of arthritis and other chronic conditions. Some types of inflammatory molecules may promote the development of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis , two conditions that affect joints. Osteoarthritis is the so-called “wear-and-tear” type of arthritis where cartilage is damaged in the affected joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks and damages joints.
Smoking And Tobacco Use
Tobacco products are not good for any part of you and that includes your joints. Nicotine decreases blood flow to bones, tissues, and discs in your spine that provide cushioning between vertebrae. Nicotine decreases calcium absorption. Tobacco use also interferes with estrogen in the body. Women need estrogen to maintain healthy bones. Smoking cigarettes inhibits the formation of new bone, so bones are not as dense as they could be if a person did not use tobacco. All of this results in joints that are weaker than they should be and includes an increased possibility of suffering from a broken hip or other joint injury. Another reason to quit smoking tobacco use depresses the function of the immune system.
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Rest When You’re Tired
The disease itself causes fatigue. And the strain of dealing with pain and limited activities also can make you tired. The amount of rest you need depends on how bad your symptoms are.
- With severe symptoms, you may need long periods of rest. You might need to rest a joint by lying down for 15 minutes several times a day to relax. Try to find a balance between daily activities that you must do or want to do and the amount of rest you need to do those activities.
- Plan your day carefully, including rest periods. Pace your activities so that you don’t get overtired.
How Do You Know If You Have Arthritis
An official diagnosis of arthritis can be made with an X-ray that shows cartilage degeneration and joint space narrowing within affected joints. Symptoms of arthritis that may help lead you to a diagnosis include joint pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion affecting your ability to move your joints.
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The Basics Of Arthritis
Arthritis is a broad term that covers a group of over 100 diseases. It has everything to do with your joints — the places where your bones connect — such as your wrists, knees, hips, or fingers. But some types of arthritis can also affect other connective tissues and organs, including your skin.
About 1 out of 5 adults have some form of the condition. It can happen to anyone, but it becomes more common as you age.
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:
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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.
What Are Common Arthritis Treatments
There are many things that help reduce pain, relieve stiffness and keep you moving. Your care may involve more than one kind of treatment. Your doctor may recommend medications but there are many things you can do on your own to help manage pain and fatigue and move easier.
Finding the right treatment takes time. It can involve trial and error until you and your healthcare team or therapist find what works best. Be sure to let your doctor know if a treatment is not working. Your treatment may also change as your arthritis changes.
Treatments for arthritis can be divided into several categories: medication, exercise, heat/cold, pacing, joint protection, surgery and self-help skills. You can do things in each of these areas to help yourself feel better and move easier.
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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 white.
- 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.
Exercises That Help Relieve Arthritis In The Fingers And Hands
If someone is pain free, it is critical to keep joints in good range of motion. Simple shoulder shrugs, wrist, and finger range of motion exercises help keep joint range of motion, says physical therapist Charles J. Gulas, PT, PhD, GCS, dean of the School of Health Professions at Maryville University of St. Louis. Being pain free is the key, Gulas stresses, especially when doing exercises intended to build strength. When pain acts up, rest and pain management may be a better bet.
Try these range-of-motion exercises to keep your hands, fingers, and thumbs flexible and to ease symptoms of arthritis in the fingers and in the hands overall:
- Close your fist and then gradually open your hand, stretching your fingers out, then close slowly into a fist again.
- Make circle motions with your thumb, keeping it straight.
- Stretch your thumb away from the palm of your hand, then use it to touch each fingertip.
Repeat these exercises 3 to 10 times daily. Stop if you feel pain in a joint or if you’re experiencing additional pain once youre done. Some people find that doing these hand exercises under warm water is helpful. If you have osteoarthritis, you may need to wear a splint, wear a compression glove, or use another type of support to help reduce wear and tear on your joints during your daily activities. Ask your doctor or a physical therapist to recommend the type of device that may help you.
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How Are The Hands And Wrists Structured
There are 27 small bones that make up each hand and wrist. Eight of those bones are in your wrist. Each finger has three bones, and the thumb has two. There are five bones in the palm of your hand, connecting each finger and the thumb with the wrist.
There are more than 30 muscles that control the hand and wrist. These are in your hands, wrists and forearms.
Muscles are attached to bones by tendons. These are small but very tough pieces of connective tissue. Tendons pass through a bony passage in your wrist, known as the carpal tunnel. The median nerve also passes through this tunnel.
What To Think About
- Some DMARDs can take up to 6 months to work.
- In some people, a certain DMARD may not work at all. So a different DMARD will be used.
- If you’re taking DMARDs, it’s a good idea to have a rheumatologist manage your care.
- Many DMARDs have serious side effects. You will need regular blood and urine tests to check the drug’s effects on blood-producing cells , the kidneys, and the liver.
- If you have other conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend that you take medicine to control them.
- Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Hand Surgery
Recovery time depends on many factors, including the severity of your condition, type of surgery you had, the skill of your surgeon and your compliance with therapy. Most people can return to their activities about three months after joint reconstruction surgery. Your team of caregivers can give you the best estimate of your particular recovery time.
Is This Topic For You
There are many types of arthritis . This topic is about rheumatoid arthritis. If you are looking for information about how juvenile idiopathic arthritis affects young children, see the topic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. If you are looking for information on the most common form of arthritis in older adults, see the topic Osteoarthritis.
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Hand Osteoarthritis Causes And Risk Factors
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?
How Does Arthritis Feel
Arthritis usually causes stiffness pain and fatigue. The severity varies from person to person and even from day to day. In some people only a few joints are affected and the impact may be small. In other people the entire body system may be affected.
The joints of the body are the site of much of the action in arthritis. Many types of arthritis show signs of joint inflammation: swelling, stiffness, tenderness, redness or warmth. These joint symptoms may be accompanied by weight loss, fever or weakness.
When these symptoms last for more than two weeks, inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis may be the cause. Joint inflammation may also be caused by infection which can lead to septic arthritis. Degenerative joint disease is the most common type of arthritis joint inflammation is not a prominent feature of this condition. While normal joints can support a vast amount of use, mechanical abnormalities of a joint make it susceptible to degeneration.
It is healthy for you to keep active and move your joints. If you do not move a joint regularly, the muscles around it weaken and/or become tight. The joint can stiffen or even freeze. When you do try to move the joint and muscles hurt because they have been still for so long.
Arthritis can make it hard to do the movements you rely on every day for work or taking care of your family.
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Ial Rotator Cuff Tears
As the rotator cuff continues to age or degenerates, a portion of the rotator cuff might separate from the bone that it is normally attached to. This is usually part of the natural progression of tendinosis.
If enough of the rotator cuff starts to separate then we have a small cleft or defect in the rotator cuff attachment. We call that a partial tear. Partial tears are not large enough to cause weakness of the shoulder. However, if you have a painful partial tear, you can have pain on top or on the side of the shoulder. In addition, you may find it very painful when trying to lift the arm overhead.
Some partial tears hurt, while others do not. Determining if your partial tear is painful is usually possible with a physical exam. Most people with partial tears of the rotator cuff are going to respond to physical therapy. If physical therapy and other non-surgical treatments do not improve your pain, then surgery to place a unique biological patch has a high likelihood of alleviating your night pain and pain with lifting your arm. See this post for more information about the patch and how it works.
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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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.
What Is The Patient’s Role In Treating Or Managing Arthritis
The patient is the most important member of the health care team.
The patient plays an important role in his or her medical care. The patient can contribute to the success of a treatment plan by:
- learning about arthritis
- reporting progress and setbacks to health team
- keeping a positive attitude
- developing relationships with the rest of the health care team
Keeping a positive attitude, though sometimes difficult, is an important ingredient in overcoming arthritis. Asking questions and finding out as much as you can about of arthritis and its treatment is important. So talk over your concerns with your doctor. If you still need more information , ask the nurse, physical therapist, social worker, occupational therapist to help you find answers to your questions.
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Causes Of Hand Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis and fingertip joint arthritis usually have a genetic factor involved, whereas osteoarthritis can occur due to various reasons, such as:
- Age: The chances of developing osteoarthritis increases with old age.
- Weight: Obese people are more prone to osteoarthritis.
- Sex: Osteoarthritis develops in men earlier than women but has more severe symptoms in women.
- Genes: It is suspected that a genetic component is involved in osteoarthritis, which triggers the condition at a younger age, particularly in those with a family history.
- Injuries: An injury to a joint, even with proper treatment, may cause the development of arthritis. This is also known as post-traumatic arthritis and commonly results from dislocations or fractures.
The other common causes of various types of arthritis include:
- Infections: Certain bacteria and viruses can infect the joint and can trigger arthritis development.
- Inflammatory/autoimmune/connective tissue diseases .