When To See A Doctor About Joint Pain
While there is no cure for arthritis, its always advisable to see a doctor if you start to experience painful joints. Often, reviewing your medical history for a joint injury, and checking flexibility and signs of swelling will help diagnose osteoarthritis. They may run some blood tests to check for inflammation in the body and rule out other possible causes too.
If your GP suspects Rheumatoid arthritis, theyll usually refer you to a rheumatologist for treatment.
A fast arthritis diagnosis particularly in cases of rheumatoid arthritis, will allow you to start a treatment that slows down the progression of the condition, rather than simply relieving symptoms.
You may decide to try some alternative therapies whether your joint pain is arthritis or not. alternative therapies such as yoga, tai chi have been shown to help with pain and can relieve tension and anxiety.
Another popular therapy is Magnetic pulse therapy, which targets pain with a weak electromagnetic pulse. while the effects of this treatment are largely unproven, some do find it helps reduce discomfort, and many small devices are available to buy online.
More advice and resources
What Does Arthritis Feel Like
Arthritis can be categorized as inflammatory or mechanical. However, these are both characterized by pain. There are more than 100 conditions that fall under arthritis. Each has different symptoms, but the main symptom of any form of arthritis, and what is generally described by any sufferer, is pain.
Depending on the type and cause of your arthritis, the pain may range from mild to severe, acute to chronic. This pain is referred to as arthralgia. Arthralgia will mostly feel like a burning sensation or as some may say a dull ache. Mostly, the pain will start with the usage of the affected joint.
Can You Reverse Arthritis In Hands
The joints in your hands, wrists, and feet are the ones most likely to be impacted by this condition.Rheumatoid arthritis , much like other types of arthritis, cannot be cured.Even if you exhibit signs of mild inflammation and your joints arent swollen and sore, your doctor may still want you to continue taking some medicine in order to prevent a flare-up of the condition.This is done in order to keep the disease from becoming more severe.
Don’t Miss: Arthritis Itchy Skin
What Can Be Done For Arthritis In Your Knuckles
To alleviate the discomfort and make it simpler for you to use your hand, your physician may prescribe one or more of the following treatments:
What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Hands
Early symptoms include:
- Dull or burning joint pain, appearing hours or a day after increased use of your hands.
- Morning pain and stiffness in your hand.
- Swollen joints in your hand.
If you’ve had arthritis in your hand for some time:
- Symptoms are present more often.
- Pain may change from dull ache to sharp pain.
- Pain may wake you up at night.
- Pain may cause you to change the way you use your hand.
- Tissue surrounding your affected joint may become red and tender to the touch.
- Youll feel grating, grinding, cracking or clicking when bending your fingers.
- Your fingers cant fully open and close.
- Small bony nodules form on the middle joint of your fingers or at the top joints of your fingers .
- Your finger joints become large and deformed and abnormally bent, leaving your hands weak and less able to accomplish everyday tasks.
You May Like: How Can I Relieve Arthritis Pain In My Hands
Reducing The Strain On Your Hands And Wrists
We use our hands a lot in daily life. If you have osteoarthritis in your hands or wrists, taking some time to think about how you use them, and how you could reduce the strain on them, can bring great benefits. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your hands, just that you should think about ways of using them differently.
It may be helpful to see an occupational therapist or hand therapist, who will be able to offer a lot of useful advice on this. But many people discover for themselves different ways of doing things that help to ease the strain on their joints. Examples include:
- using gadgets such as electric tin openers or tools with softer, chunkier handles that don’t need such a tight grip
- using a backpack or shopping trolley to avoid carrying heavy bags in your hands
- taking more frequent breaks from tasks that put more strain on your joints or switching between harder and easier jobs
- using both hands for some of the tasks that you normally do one-handed
- having taps or door handles changed for those that are easier to use
- looking out for easy-to-handle fastenings when choosing clothing or shoes.
Find out more about looking after your joints.
The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The one key difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is that the latter is a systemic disease that affects many organs. Besides the joint pain and discomfort, the individual with rheumatoid arthritis can present with many other symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis ICD 10 has a diagnosis code of M06.9 for unspecified areas of the body. It is notated as a chronic systemic disease, with joints as its primary targets.
The joint involvement in RA is usually symmetrical and involves the smaller joints, especially those of the wrists, hands, and toes. As the disease progresses, other joints of the body may also be involved, like the neck, ankles, knees, shoulders, hips, and elbows.
- The individual will complain of warm, tender, and swollen joints.
- The joints may feel stiff, which is usually worse in the morning and after periods of inactivity.
- Fever may be present.
- General malaise, fatigue, and lack of appetite are common features.
Recommended Reading: Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare Up After Surgery
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects Your Hands
Many joints are covered with a lining called the synovium, which lubricates the joint so it moves more easily. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, the synovium becomes inflamed, thickens, and produces an excess of joint fluid. This is known as synovitis. That extra fluid along with the inflammatory chemicals released by the immune system causes swelling, damages cartilage, and softens the bone within the joint. The swollen tissue may stretch the surrounding ligaments, resulting in deformity and instability, according to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. The inflammation may also weaken and damage tendons. Ligaments are connective tissues that join two bones tendons are connective issues that join muscle to bone.
When RA strikes the hand, it is most common in the wrist and finger knuckles more specifically the MCP joint, or the large knuckle where the fingers and thumb meet the hand, and the PIP joint, or middle knuckle, explains Jemima Albayda, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.
The first knuckle at the top of the finger closest to the nails the DIP, or distal interphalangeal joint is generally spared in RA. In the wrist, RA often affects the joint between the two bones of the forearm, the radius and ulna.
More Tips For Your Hands
Moving your hands and fingers can help keep your ligaments and tendons flexible and increase the function of synovial fluid. Try regular hand exercises to strengthen muscles and relieve stiffness and pain. Simple exercises like flexing and bending, finger touching, and finger sliding may help keep your fingers limber.
Staying physically active while at the same time taking extra precautions against injury is vital not only for preventing arthritis, but also for your overall physical health.
Don’t Miss: Tell Me About Arthritis
What Outcome Can I Expect If I Have Arthritis In My Hands
There is no cure for arthritis. However, you can usually manage mild to moderate symptoms with a combination of medication and non-medication approaches. Surgery may be an option if other treatments fail or the arthritis in your hands is severe. Your healthcare provider will explain what outcome you can expect for your type and severity of arthritis, your age, other existing medical conditions and other factors.
Treatment Goals: Manage Pain And Improve Function
Osteoarthritis treatment plans often include exercise, rest and joint care, pain relief, weight control, medicines, surgery, and complementary treatment approaches. Current treatments for osteoarthritis can relieve symptoms such as pain and disability, but there are no treatments that can cure the condition.
Although health care professionals can prescribe or recommend treatments to help you manage your arthritis, the real key to living well with the disease is you. Research shows that people with osteoarthritis who take part in their own care report less pain and make fewer doctor visits. They also enjoy a better quality of life.
You May Like: Arthritis Remedies Hands
Inflammatory Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis
Arthritis actually describes over 100 different conditions that affect joints and the surrounding tissue. They fall into two main categories: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis .
Inflammatory arthritis is a systemic disease in which the mechanisms that normally protect your body attack your own joints and tissues instead. The most well-known example is rheumatoid arthritis , which tends to be symmetrical, meaning youll have problems in the same joints on both sides of your body, like both wrists or both knees.
The second type of arthritis and the most common form is osteoarthritis. A degenerative disorder, its caused by trauma or age-related wear and tear on your joints over time. OA is most likely to affect weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hip, lower spine or big toe, but it can also cause pain and stiffness in your thumb or finger joints.
Skin And Nail Changes
Inflammatory arthritis, especially PsA, can cause skin and nail changes. For example, rashes associated with PsA and psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body, including on the feet. PsA is also associated with a condition called palmoplantar pustulosis, which can cause tiny, pus-filled blisters on the soles of the feet.
Up to 80% of people with PsA will have nail involvement. Toenail symptoms are also common in people with RA.
Nail changes associated with arthritis include pitting , discoloration, brittle nails, and onycholysis .
Read Also: How To Avoid Arthritis In Hands
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. Lets look at the difference between arthritis and other conditions, risk factors and treatments.
Why Does My Knuckles Hurt
Pain in the knuckles can be caused by disorders that affect any of the tissues in the knuckle, such as the skin, nerves, muscles, joints, tendons, bones, ligaments, blood vessels, or connective tissue. Pain in the knuckles is frequently brought on by osteoarthritis and injuries sustained in accidents.
Also Check: How To Diagnose Arthritis
My Fingers Hurt Do I Have Arthritis
Arthritis is a joint disorder characterized by inflammation. A joint is the area of the body where two different bones meet. In the hand, finger and wrist joints allow the body parts connected to these bones to move smoothly. Arthritis is defined as inflammation of one or more of these joints, usually accompanied by pain. The Arthritis Foundation estimates that 1 in 5 people over the age of 18 will develop arthritis.
Pain and stiffness of the fingers is a common reason for a visit to the doctor.
Should I See A Doctor
Its common to have aches and pains in your muscles and joints from time to time. This may especially be true if you take part in unusual or strenuous physical activities.
So, how can you tell the difference between the early signs of arthritis and normal pain and stiffness? And, how do you know when you should see a doctor about your symptoms?
If you have swelling or stiffness that you cant explain and that doesnt go away in a few days, or if it becomes painful to touch your joints, you should see a doctor. The earlier you get a diagnosis and start the right type of treatment, the better the outcome will be.
Here are some other things to think about that might help you decide whether you need to see a doctor:
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Arthritis Pain In Hands
What Osteoarthritis Pain Feels Like
Pain is pain, right? It just plain hurts. But for your doctor to figure out whether your joint pain stems from osteoarthritis, which develops as cartilage wears away, youll need to be specific about when the pain occurs, how bad it is, and the ways its affecting you.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis that may help you identify and better describe your pain to your doctor:
- Pain that aches deep into the joint
- Pain that feels better with rest
- Pain that isnt noticeable in the morning but gets worse throughout the day
- Pain that radiates into your buttocks, thighs, or groin
- Joint pain that affects your posture and gait and may cause limping
- Pain that occurs after using the joint
- Swelling in the joint
- Not being able to move the joint as much as usual
- Feeling a sensation of bones grating or catching on something when moving the joint
- Pain during certain activities, like standing from a seated position or using stairs
- Pain that interferes with work, daily activities, and exercise
- Joint stiffness first thing in the morning that improves with time
- Stiffness after resting the joint
When Hand Or Wrist Pain May Mean Arthritis
Learn about the various causes of hand or wrist pain, including different kinds of arthritis.
Many forms of arthritis and related conditions that affect different parts of the hands. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling or numbness in the wrist and fingers. Pitted nails, painful ulcers or thickened skin that makes bending the fingers difficult may also occur. Here are some diseases that affect the hands.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Also known as wear and tear arthritis, OA is a chronic condition caused by the breakdown of the cartilage, which cushions the ends of the bones where they meet to form joints. This breakdown causes the bones to rub together, causing stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement.
In hand OA, the joints most commonly affected by OA are the wrists, the joints at the base of the thumb, the middle finger joints and the joints closest to fingernails. In the finger joints, OA can lead to the formation of nodes .
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by a faulty immune system that primarily attacks joints . The result can be joint pain, swelling, inflammation and loss of function. RA commonly affects the wrist and finger joints. RA usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body . If untreated, the disease can cause joint deformities that make it difficult to use the hands.
Don’t Miss: Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Worse At Night
Arthritis Feels Like Always Having Radio Static In The Background
For the longest time I wasnt ever able to explain how the pain from my arthritis felt to my parents but I recently was able to come up with an analogy, says Brandy, 19, of New York City, who has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I told them its a constant pain thats always in the background, like static from a radio or TV thats always on. It never goes away but sometimes its easier to ignore than others. When Im having a rough day and Im in a lot of pain its the worst. Its a sharp stabbing pain in my knee that wont go away.
You May Like: How To Deal With Arthritis
What Type Of Hand Surgery Is Most Commonly Performed On The Specific Joints Affected By Arthritis
- Base of the thumb: Where your thumb and wrist join. Common surgical options include removing part or all of one of the trapezium bone , tendon transfer or joint fusion.
- Knuckles : Joint replacement is almost always considered for this repair. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause serious damage and disability to your knuckles.
- Second joint of your finger : Osteoarthritis commonly causes stiffness and loss of motion. Joint replacement or fusion are considered for these joints. Because you use these joints frequently, there is a chance your implant could wear out. In this case, your provider may recommend further surgery.
- Top of finger joint : Joint fusion is commonly used to treat arthritis in this joint.
Don’t Miss: What Joints Does Ra Affect
What Are The Symptoms Of Ra In The Hands
The most common symptoms involve pain, swelling and stiffness in the hands and fingers. You may also experience:
- Numbness and tingling similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Joints that are warm and tender to the touch.
- Misshapen joints in your wrist or fingers.
You will usually experience symptoms in both hands. The pain and stiffness from RA lasts for more than an hour after waking up.