What Can I Do To Decrease Hand Arthritis Symptoms
Osetoarthritis involves degeneration of a joint or joints due to excessive wear and tear. While OA can affect joints throughout the body, it commonly affects those in the hand. People with hand OA often report feeling generalized pain and morning stiffness in the joints. In regard to appearance, people with hand OA often have enlarged knuckles and excessive bone growth on the sides of the fingers.
Although hand arthritis symptoms may be quite severe, there are many simple remedies that can help one decrease pain and stiffness.
Changes In Surrounding Joints
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.
Use Hot And Cold Therapy
Hot and cold therapy can also be used to address the arthritis symptoms in your hands. Try applying ice to your swollen joints for at least 10 minutes at a time to help reduce the swelling. When applying ice to your hands, be sure to use a cloth to prevent any skin damage. As an alternative, try placing your hands in a tub of warm water for heat therapy. This can help ease your stiff joints. There are plenty of over the counter products available for hot and cold therapy that can help too.
Also Check: Side Effects Of Arthritis Medicine
Exercise #: Make A Fist
You can do this easy exercise anywhere, and any time your hand feels stiff. Start by holding your left hand up straight. Then, slowly bend your hand into a fist, placing your thumb on the outside of your hand. Be gentledont squeeze your hand. Open your hand back up until your fingers are straight once again. Do the exercise 10 times with the left hand. Then repeat the whole sequence with the right hand.
Part 4 of 9: Finger Bends
Olive Oil For Arthritis
This one of the common and effective essential oils for arthritis.Even grandma do use it because of general health benefits.Olive oil health benefits are enormous and you can easily find in your local store.
I love it too, in fact, most of the time I use it to cook for my family. It mitigates arthritis and muscle inflammation. It contains a compound known as oleocanthal which fights against inflammatory enzymes in the body system that may be stimulated by arthritis drugs that you are taking.
How to apply it
- Apply 1 -2 drops of olive oil to the swollen join 2- 3 times a day.
- Massage it very well, but gently because you would not want to increase the pressure too much in the affected area.
- It works better in the night because that is when you will be able to rest and sleep very well.
- In fact, sometimes I drink 1-2 teaspoonful.
- So suggest you can take it too, but make sure that you do not take another other fatty food because it has high-calorie content.
Recommended Reading: What Can You Do For Arthritis In Your Back
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.
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.
You May Like: Arthritis Flare Up In Hands
Can Arthritis In The Hand Be Prevented
Arthritis cant be prevented. However, you can watch for symptoms of arthritis as you age and see your healthcare provider if you notice changes in your joints. You can also take steps to control factors that you can control. Eat healthy to nourish your body and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts more stress on your joints. Dont smoke. Smoking increases your risk of arthritis.
How Arthritis Of The Hand Is Diagnosed
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.
Recommended Reading: Arthritis In Lower Right Side Of Back
Diagnosing Hand And Finger Arthritis
First, its important to correctly diagnose hand or finger arthritis, advises Dr. Newsum. Sometimes, patients experience hand or finger pain or stiffness and assume its arthritis, but there are other conditions that can cause these symptoms, he adds.
In addition to arthritis, two other common causes of hand and finger pain include trigger finger and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Trigger finger is a tendonitis of the fingers flexor tendons, whereas carpal tunnel is caused by compression of a nerve in the hand, explains Dr. Newsum.
Carpal tunnel usually causes numbness, tingling or electric shooting nerve sensations in the hands that can be worse at night or aggravated by certain activities, but it can present without numbness and be mistaken for arthritis, too.
With trigger finger, pain is usually experienced in the palm of the hand at the base of the fingers. The finger can click and even get stuck in a particular position or just may cause stiffness with difficulty bending the fingers.
Clicking or sticking of a finger is a distinct symptom of trigger finger and not arthritis, clarifies Dr. Newsum.
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.
Read Also: What Does Arthritis In The Hands Feel Like
Avoid Excessive Gripping/twisting/turning Tasks
Osteoarthritis symptoms are often triggered by overuse activities. Therefore, to deter an increase in pain and stiffness, avoid excessive gripping/twisting/turning tasks. There are many commercially available items than can help you avoid straining your hands. For instance:
Electric can opener Can significantly decrease the amount of stress on the hand, versus using a manual can opener.
Electric and automatic jar openers Also handy to use at home to decrease strain to the hands.
What Is A Boutonniere Deformity
Boutonniere deformity, also called buttonhole deformity, can happen due to rheumatoid arthritis.
The middle finger joint will bend toward the palm while the outer finger joint may bend opposite the palm. It may be the result of chronic inflammation of the finger’s middle joint.
Treatment may include splinting to keep the middle joint extended. Some cases need surgery.
Get more information on other RA joint deformities.
Recommended Reading: Psoriatic Arthritis Hives
Risk Factors For Hand And Finger Arthritis
According to Dr. Newsum, finger or hand arthritis can occur years after of an old injury, but most of the time, it affects people age 50 and older.
By age 60, 70% of people will have arthritis based on X-rays. By age 75, 90% have arthritis on X-rays, but the important thing to note is that many dont have severe symptoms and are not debilitated by it.
If you do, however, its important to get medical help to find your path toward relief.
Other factors that can increase your risk of arthritis in your hands and fingers include:
- Enlarged bumps at the fingers knuckles
Its also important to distinguish between the different types of hand or finger arthritis.
Dr. Newsum explains, Osteoarthritis affects the middle knuckles and knuckles near the nails and can appear as large bumps on the knuckle, which are bone spurs that are caused from bone rubbing on bone when the joint moves.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that attacks tendons, ligaments, the joint lining and bones.
How Do You Treat Wrist Arthritis
Arthritis doesnt have a cure but treatments can help manage your symptoms and relieve pain. You can also try limiting activities that cause pain in your wrist, if possible. A splint may help with this, as it eases physical stress and provides support. You can order a custom-made splint to cover your wrist and forearm or get an arthritis glove. These allow you to wiggle your fingers.
Read Also: Mayo Clinic Arthritis Treatment
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?
Exercises For Arthritis In The Hands Fingers
While doctors can help patients by offering treatments ranging from medications to surgical procedures, patients themselves can also help relieve this pain by performing certain exercises.
Hand exercises can help with strength, flexibility and range of motion in the joints, as well as the supportive ligaments and tendons of the hands and fingers. This can also help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Before beginning, its important to know that it is normal to experience some mild aching after exercising. However, if discomfort lasts for more than a few hours, you should perform fewer repetitions next time. If the exercises make your symptoms worse, stop doing them and go see your doctor.
5 Daily Hand Exercises for Arthritis
Although these exercises are quite simple, they can make a noticeable difference in joint pain and inflammation. However, if you only do them occasionally, you may not notice an effect. Therefore, we recommend you make hand exercises a habit by doing them at the same time each day, as well as in the same order.
Also Check: Medical Term Joint Pain
Make A Few Wardrobe Changes
Minor changes to your wardrobe can reduce strain on your hands, helping to ease your overall pain and stiffness. For example, try wearing:
- Shoes that slip on or use Velcro rather than shoelaces
- Shirts that pull over the head rather than button up
- Pants that have elastic waistbands rather than snaps and zippers
Other lifestyle changes can also be helpful. For example, when cooking, use a jar opener, lightweight pots and pans, and kitchen utensils with large handles. An occupational therapist can give you additional ideas on how to reduce strain on hand joints.
Treatment For Hand Arthritis In The Greater Chesapeake
If you have a hand injury or chronic condition such as arthritis, turn to the experts at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder. Our team of hand experts have a profound understanding of the complex networks of blood vessels, nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones that make up the hand and fingers.
We understand how important pain-free hand and finger motion and function is to daily activities, including work, self-care, sports, and leisure. Our orthopedic and plastic surgeons specialize in hand surgery, and we can offer state-of-the-art nonsurgical and surgical care to treat a full range of hand and finger injuries and conditions.
Call us today to schedule a consultation with our at or request an appointment online now for any of our Greater Chesapeake locations. We look forward to helping you feel less pain in your hands and regain hand motion and function, so you can get back to doing what you love.
Don’t Miss: Best Treatment For Arthritis In Fingers
Meditation For Pain Management
Meditation is an ancient mind and body practice that goes back to Buddhism and other Eastern religions. It puts your focus and attention on the current moment and not letting lifeâs distractions get in your way.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, meditation can promote âcalmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being.âï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ And research shows meditation can be helpful for managing chronic pain associated with conditions like OA and RA.
A 2011 article in the medical journal Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America looked at the possible benefits of meditation on people with rheumatological diseases like RA and OA, which the author cites as the most significant causes of chronic pain.ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿
The reportâs author further argues that while mind-body therapies can be effective for managing pain, only about 20% of people with chronic pain use them. This 2011 piece also discusses an older study that found only eight weeks of mediation therapy improved pain in people with RA.
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.
Read Also: Rf Negative Rheumatoid Arthritis
Treatments For Arthritis Of The Hands
Osteoarthritis in the hands is the most common form of the condition. In fact, symptoms occur in nearly all women over the age of 70. It develops when the cartilage in the fingers and hand joints begins to break down, causing pain, inflammation and stiffness in the joints, particularly in the thumb. Aching hands can be severely detrimental to quality of life, costing some jobs or hobbies. Here are nine options to help treat arthritis in your hands.
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.
Read Also: Side Effects Of Arthritis Medications