Arthritis Feels Like Having The Flu
If youve ever had the flu, then you know how entirely horrible it makes you feel, which makes it the perfect comparison for arthritis, says Christina, 32, from Michigan.
When you have the flu really bad, your whole body is stiff and sore, places you didnt even know you had are aching, and it takes a lot of effort just to get out of bed much less do anything else. The flu sucks all the energy out of you. Well, thats how my ankylosing spondylitis feels when it flares up, she explains. Except it isnt just for a week or two, its for the rest of my life.
Symptoms Of Arthritis On Finger Joints
What does arthritis feel like?
- Pain is the main problem with arthritis.
- At first, the pain usually only causes problems when you begin an activity. Once the activity gets underway, the pain eases. But after resting for several minutes the pain and stiffness When the arthritis condition worsens, pain may be felt even at rest. The sensitive joint may feel enlarged and warm to the touch from inflammation.
- In rheumatoid arthritis, the fingers often become deformed as the disease progresses. The MCP joints of the fingers may actually begin to point sideways . This is called ulnar drift. Ulnar drift can cause weakness and pain, making it difficult to use your hand for daily activities.
- Both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can affect the IP joints of the fingers. The IP joints may begin to flex or hyperextend , causing characteristic finger deformities. Swan neck deformity occurs when the middle finger joint becomes loose and hyperextended, while the DIP joint becomes flexed. When the PIP joint flexes and the DIP joint extends, a boutonniere deformity
- Both forms of arthritis can cause enlarged areas over the back of the PIP joints. These areas tend to be sore and swollen. They are known as Bouchards nodes. Osteoarthritis causes similar enlargements over the DIP joints, called Heberdens nodes.
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.
Also Check: What To Use For Arthritis Pain In Hands
Grip And Pinch Strengtheners
Doctors may also recommend exercises with grip and pinch strengtheners. These soft, springy balls or putty provide some resistance when the person squeezes or pinches them.
Here are some tips on how to use them:
- Squeeze a grip strengthener as hard as possible without causing pain.
- Hold the position for a few seconds at a time, then relax.
- Try to do the exercise 10â15 times per day.
- It may be a good idea to alternate hands on different days to allow each hand to rest.
- When using a softer pinch strengthener, pinch it between all five fingers as hard as possible without causing pain. Hold the pinch for up to 30 seconds, then release it, and try to repeat the exercise 15 times per day.
Exercising with these tools is important to increase strength in the muscles of the hands and fingers.
There are certain things that a person with stiff fingers can do at home to improve their symptoms. These include:
- applying heat or ice packs to the affected fingers
- taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin
- doing hand exercises to regain mobility
- applying creams or gels to the affected fingers
- resting the affected fingers in cases of acute injury or trauma
- limiting the use of the affected fingers
Arthritis Makes My Hands Feel Like Theyre Bound And On Fire
If being on fire and yet unable to move to do anything to quench the flames sounds like a living nightmare then youve pretty much summed up arthritis, says Brea, 24, of Melbourne, Australia. I usually describe the pain from my juvenile idiopathic arthritis as sharp hot pain while having my hands wrapped tightly in cotton wool, she says.
Recommended Reading: Home Remedy For Arthritis In Hands
How Does Joint Pain In Hands And Fingers Affect Members
The symptoms of RA in hands and fingers significantly disrupt myRAteam members daily lives in many ways. Many members report that this type of arthritis makes it hard to grip, pinch, or squeeze things with their hands. Its frustrating to not be able to turn a doorknob, open jars, or lift heavy cookware, said one member. I need both hands to balance a coffee mug, explained another. I cant hold onto my pills without dropping them, said another.
Loss of hand function can also be dangerous. Members say theyve dropped a cup of coffee or lost control of a pot of hot water. One member said, I was changing the toilet paper roll and, because my hands don’t work, the holder shot out of my hand and popped me in the eye!
What Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Feel Like In Your Hands
When your arms are affected by rheumatoid arthritis, you could expertise swelling across the affected joint, which results in ache or tenderness. The joint might really feel heat to the contact. Swelling tends to be symmetrical, which suggests it happens in the identical joints on each proper and left arms.
Also Check: What Really Causes Arthritis
What Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain And Discomfort Feels Like
Rheumatoid arthritis can be like the old box of chocolates adage you never know what youre going to get, according to the blogger Katie Singh, 38, of Austin, Texas. Singh was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when she 23 years old. Sometimes it feels like burning, other times it feels like throbbing throbbing so bad that you can’t think about anything else, Singh explains. There are times I’ve almost considered wanting to cut off a foot or a hand, the pain is so excruciating.
Helping A Loved One Who Has Arthritis
If you have a family member or loved one with arthritis, its important to be sensitive to their needs. As their condition could worsen over time, learning all you can about their specific arthritis helps both you as a caretaker and your loved one as a patient.
Learn Their Symptoms
Reading about what arthritis feels like can give you a perspective about what they need daily. Along with pain comes mental health changes and threats to the individuals well-being. Knowing what their symptoms are and what to expect during a flare-up can prepare you to give the best care you can.
If You Cant Care, Support
It isnt always possible to offer physical or emotional care if you arent a professional. If you cant extend any skills in this arena, at least know how you can support your loved ones while they receive medical care. Listen to them, help them with appointments, and show you care.
Find a Caregiver
Life gets chaotic and arthritis can impact the family in more ways than one. Finding a caregiver can help maintain or even improve the quality of life for everyone involved. They can help with movement, daily functions, and offer relief to the arthritis patient.
Recommended Reading: What Is Rheumatism Pain Like
Is It Arthritis In My Hand Or Tendonitis
Arthritis and tendonitis can mimic each other, so its important to understand the difference between the two. Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons in your hand due to an injury or repetitive motion, and the pain can come and go suddenly or last for a few days.
Arthritis, however, is inflammation of the joint due to degenerative joint disease. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common forms are osteoarthritis , when the protective cartilage in the joint breaks down, and rheumatoid arthritis , when immune system attacks the joints. Early symptoms of arthritis include painful hand joints, burning sensation and decreased functionality of the hand and/or wrist.
Question: What Does Arthritis In The Hand Feel Like
Early symptoms of arthritis of the hand include joint pain that may feel dull, or a burning sensation. The pain often occurs after periods of increased joint use, such as heavy gripping or grasping. The pain may not be present immediately, but may show up hours later or even the following day.
Recommended Reading: How Can You Stop Arthritis In Your Hands
Describing Painful Symptoms To Your Doctor
To determine whether your pain is due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or another type of arthritis, your doctor will ask you many questions about your pain, how it affects your life and body, when it occurs, and how bad it gets. Your doctor may ask you to rate your pain on a scale from 1 to 10 .
Before you speak with your doctor, think about the words you want to use to describe your joint pain. Here are some terms that will help your doctor get the full picture. Choose the ones that best describe how your arthritis pain feels:
Can Moist Heat Or Ice Help Ra Pain
Both of these simple methods can ease RA pain and stiffness.
Use a warm, moist compress on your fingers and hands for 15 minutes before you exercise.
To reduce swelling, use ice packs. Put an ice pack on the painful joint for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
You may want to switch between moist heat and ice packs. Experiment to find out what works best for you, and then make it part of your routine before and after exercise. Read more about heat and cold therapy for arthritis pain.
Don’t Miss: Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause A Rash
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.
What Is The Best Vitamin For Arthritis
Top 4 Supplements for Arthritis Pain Relief
Read Also: What Can Be Done For Arthritis In The Back
What Are The Warning Signs Of Arthritis
Pain from arthritis can be ongoing or can come and go. It may occur when you’re moving or after you have been still for some time. You may feel pain in one spot or in many parts of your body.
Your joints may feel stiff and be hard to move. You may find that it’s hard to do daily tasks you used to do easily, such as climbing stairs or opening a jar. Pain and stiffness may be more severe during certain times of the day or after you’ve done certain tasks.
Some types of arthritis cause swelling or inflammation. The skin over the joint may appear swollen and red and feel hot to the touch. Some types of arthritis can also cause fatigue.
Is It Carpal Tunnel Or Is It Arthritis
If you are having pain in one or both hands, you may be wondering if carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis are causing you pain. While both conditions can cause pain, there are several key differences between the two. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause weakness, tingling, or numbness in the hand. Arthritis can also cause pain and make it difficult to grasp things, but for completely different reasons. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by nerve compression and arthritis is caused by inflammation and damage to the joint.
You May Like: How Can You Stop Arthritis In Your Hands
What Type Of Doctors Treat Arthritis
Part of your treatment plan may involve working with different health-care specialists. Some common health-care professionals and their role in your treatment are described below. Most doctors make referrals to one of a group of health professionals with whom they work. But you too can ask your doctor to request medical services you think might help you.
Your family doctor may be an excellent source of medical care for your arthritis. Besides having your medication records, your family doctor already has your medical history, is familiar with your general physical health and knows of any past illnesses or injuries. All these facts will give your family doctor a head start in prescribing a treatment plan most suited to your needs.
If your arthritis affects many joints or other parts of the body or seems resistant to treatment, you may benefit from seeing a rheumatologist. This is a doctor with special training and experience in the field of arthritis. Your family doctor, the local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation or the county medical society can refer you to a rheumatologist. You can also search for a rheumatologist on the American College of Rheumatology web site.
Types Of Finger Arthritis
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: Inflammatory Arthropathy Symptoms
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. This causes pain in your joints and different body parts. Primarily, RA impacts the feet and hands. But it can also affect larger joints like elbows and knees. Moreover, it can produce a variety of other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing and joint stiffness.
With that said, now lets see what patients suffering from it say about what rheumatoid arthritis feels like.
Staying Physically Active Despite Hand Arthritis
Your doctor will tell you and probably has already that staying physically active is an important part of managing arthritis. In fact, according to a study of 5,715 adults with arthritis over age 65, a lack of regular, vigorous physical activity doubled the risk of functional decline. In other words, the less physically active the participants were, the more likely they were to become disabled.
Of course, despite data showing that physical activity helps people with arthritis become stronger and more flexible, anyone with arthritis will tell you that sometimes pain or stiffness makes it hard to get going, let alone lift weights at the gym. People with arthritis often give up activities they think of as optional, such as exercising or gardening, in order to have enough energy for the activities they feel obligated to do, such as cleaning the house. One study found that only 13 percent of men and 8 percent of women with arthritis met federal guidelines of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.
If symptoms of arthritis in your hands or elsewhere are preventing you from participating in the physical activities you used to enjoy and that are good for you it may be time to find new ways to be active. For example, you may want to experiment with water activities such as swimming, or try tai chi, dance, or walking .
Recommended Reading: How To Slow Down Arthritis In Hands
Can You Reverse Arthritis In Hands
There is no known cure for arthritis, which commonly affects the hands. However, a person can take steps to lower the risk of arthritis developing or worsening and to reduce and manage pain. These steps include practicing specific exercises and making dietary changes and adjustments to daily habits.
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.
Don’t Miss: Tell Me About Arthritis