Expect Ups And Downs With Arthritis
Pain is an unwelcome intruder on normal daily activities. Every person diagnosed with arthritis hopes that treatment will quickly gain control over the disease. And not only do people with arthritis hope to gain control of their condition but they hope to maintain that control. The truth is that the usual course of arthritis is fraught with ups and downs. Like many chronic health conditions, it can feel like a roller coaster.
Even with treatment, you should expect both good days and bad days with arthritis. Some people find that the ups and downs, a major part of dealing with arthritis, are the most difficult aspect. If possible, prepare for those ups and downs by building flexibility into your life.
Some people find it helpful to list out ways to adapt to unforeseen circumstances ahead of time, and there are even retreats focused on “resilience training” to help those coping with chronic medical conditions.
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.
Possible Benefits Of Surgery
Arthritis is usually a chronic condition and sometimes can lead to disability. However, there are many ways you and your doctor can lessen these problems. One of the ways may be surgery. Joint surgery can offer several benefits: Relief of pain is the most important benefit of joint surgery. Many people with arthritis have constant pain. Some of this pain can be relieved by rest, heat and cold treatments, exercise, splints, and medication. When these therapies don’t lessen the pain, surgery may be considered. Improved movement and use of a joint are also important benefits of joint surgery. Continuous inflammation and the wearing away of bone and cartilage can cause joints, tendons, and ligaments to become damaged or pulled out of place. Losing the use of a joint, such as a hip, knee, hand, elbow or shoulder, can seriously hamper a person’s activities. When this happens, surgery to replace or stabilize the joint may be suggested. An improvement in the appearance of deformed joints, especially in the hand, can be expected with some types of surgery.
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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.
Choosing The Right Doctors
PsA treatment often requires regular care by both a dermatologist and a rheumatologist. Still, finding the right doctors can be overwhelming to start. Aside from seeing which providers are in-network with your insurance carrier, you can also ask your primary doctor for some recommendations.
As a rule of thumb, you should also select doctors that are board-certified. You can also check out the AAD website for certified dermatologists, as well as the American College of Rheumatologists website for a rheumatologist.
In addition to undergraduate school and medical school education, dermatologists must undergo extensive internships and at least three years worth of residency training. To become board certified, a dermatologist must pass an exam for proper certification. A certified dermatologist usually displays their credentials somewhere in their office.
Like dermatologists, rheumatologists undergo significant schooling and training. The estimated timeline for education and training is the same, and they must also complete certification exams before practicing rheumatology. You may need a referral from your primary doctor to make an appointment.
Once youve found a dermatologist and rheumatologist, ask about their experiences in treating PsA. Because both types of doctors treat a variety of conditions, some might be more experienced in PsA than others.
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Why Go To A Hand Specialist For Arthritis
Painful and swollen hands are the first signs of arthritis. Arthritis can affect any part of your body, even the joints in your hands. It can make simple tasks like holding up a glass or mug, brushing your teeth, or turning a doorknob difficult.
While there is no cure for arthritis, you can manage symptoms and slow down the degeneration of your joints. Arthritis sufferers who get treatment and guidance from orthopedic doctors can live normal lives despite their condition.
An orthopedic hand specialist is trained and knowledgeable in various treatments that can ease the symptoms of arthritis in the hands and wrists. A hand specialist who is also a hand surgeon can perform surgical procedures that can help repair damaged joints and tendons in the hand due to arthritis.
Other Possible Causes Of Hand Pain
Hand pain is also a sign of Dupuytrens contracture, a condition in which the tissue of the palm and fingers becomes thickened and tight, causing the fingers to curl inward. Its not clear why Dupuytrens contracture develops, though those who smoke, drink a lot of alcohol, and have seizures or diabetes are more vulnerable to developing it.
Your doctor will also consider whether your hand pain could be due to carpal tunnel syndrome, says Dr. Byram. RA can be a cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, so if we see someone who has carpal tunnel, well want to make sure they dont have RA. Carpal tunnel is a condition that occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand the median nerve is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis In Hands
Some signs of arthritis in the hand may include:
- Weakness of the hand or thumb
- Nodules at the middle or end finger joints
Rheumatoid arthritis may also cause swelling, pain, or stiffness or it may have other symptoms, such as these listed by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand :
- Finger swollen in a sausage shape
- Fingers gradually moving away from the thumb
- A soft lump on the back of the hand
- A bent middle finger
- A creaking sound when you move your finger
Weight Management And Diet
Although the link between your weight and osteoarthritis of the hands may be less clear than for weight-bearing joints such as the knees, some research shows that being overweight increases inflammation and therefore pain. Therefore, if you have osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist, it still makes sense to try to maintain, or achieve, a healthy weight.
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How Might Doctors Treat Arthritis In Hands
Doctors generally start with treatments that dont involve surgery to treat arthritis in the hand, reports the American Society for Surgery of the Hand . Temporarily resting the joint, and using a splint to help keep it in place might help. Exercising the joint is important, so your doctor might prescribe physical therapy.
Doctors might treat rheumatoid arthritis in the hand with medications. Steroid injections from time to time may provide relief from either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the hand, according to the ASSH.
In some cases, you might need surgery to treat the arthritis in your hands, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. There are various types of surgery, such as fusion and joint replacement with an artificial joint. Fusion involves removing damaged joint surfaces and cartilage, and attaching one bone to another. You will no longer be able to move the fused joint, but your pain should be gone, according to the ASSH.
Common Types Of Arthritis That Can Affect The Hand
Osteoarthritis- In this type of arthritis, the cartilage in the bones breaks down and begins to degrade. With this, the bones rub against each other within the joint to bring about pain.
Rheumatoid Arthritis- This type of arthritis results from a body attack initiated by the immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the finger joints and wrists. It can cause deformity, and it also makes the use of the hands quite difficult.
Psoriatic arthritis This is the type that affects the skin and joints. It may involve several fingers, which can swell.
- Grip weakness and reduced function.
- Swelling of the joints, deformity, and stiffness.
- Finger inability to open and close fully.
- For some, grinding, cracking, or grating sound when bending the fingers.
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What You Can Do
The most important first step is to get an accurate diagnosis of whats causing your joint pain. Talk to your primary care doctor about your symptoms. You may be referred to a rheumatologist or orthopedist, doctors who specialize in arthritis and related conditions.
Arthritis and Rheumatology Clinic of Northern Virginia proudly serves Vienna, Tysons Corner, Fairfax, Great Falls, Mclean, Falls Church, Dunn Loring, Sterling, Herndon, Chantilly, Reston, Ashburn, Leesburg, Burke, Annandale, Arlington, Oakton, Washington D.C., Bethesda, Potomac, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, Rockville and more.
Arthritis and Rheumatology Clinical Center located in Vienna, Virginia provides consultations and treatments for Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, Wellness, Ankylosing spondylitis, Infusion center, Weight loss, Keto, Keto diet, Ideal protein diet, Diet, Weight loss, Medical weight loss, Obesity Treatment ,Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, PRP Platelet rich plasma, Cold laser therapy, Musculoskeletal Ultrasound, Vitamin, IV vitamin therapy, Antiaging, Glutathione, Cimzia, Orencia, Remicade, Lupus, Simponi aria, Gout, Knee pain, Shoulder pain, Rotator cuff tendinitis, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and more. Contact our Rheumatologists today for a consultation. We are located at 8130 Boone Blvd, Suite 340, Vienna VA 22182.
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.
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When To See Your Doctor About Arthritis Pain
Pain, swelling, tenderness, and joint pain can be telltale signs of arthritis. Hereâs when you should consider seeing a doctor for arthritis symptoms or joint discomfort.
Home treatment hasnât helped. Minor aches and pains usually get better with ice or heat therapy or over-the-counter pain relievers. But if your symptoms donât improve after about a week, it may be something more serious.
You have pain multiple joints.Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, can make several joints hurt. Quick treatment is important to prevent long-term damage.
Your joints hurt a lot. Your doctor should check out any severe pain so they can diagnose and treat it.
Pain doesnât go away after rest. This can be a sign that your condition may be serious. You may need therapy, such as medications or even surgery.
Your joints turn red or hot. It may be normal for you to feel a bit stiff first thing in the morning. But if your symptoms appear suddenly or are unusual, have them checked out.
Pain and stiffness come on slowly. Symptoms that happen gradually could stem from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or another arthritic condition.
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.
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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.
Ask A Doctor: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Hand surgeon Mark Joseph Yuhas, MD answers your questions about rheumatoid arthritis.
What is arthritis? Can it affect the hand and wrist just the same as other joints such as the hip and knee?
Arthritis is a term that is used to describe pain and stiffness in a joint. A joint is a location in the body where two bones articulate, or move. Typically these joints have cartilage, a type of material in the body that is smooth and helps the joint to move without pain or restriction.
Arthritis involves a process where the cartilage is no longer smooth and begins to break down. This can result in pain, swelling, and loss of motion in many joints in the body including the fingers, hand, and wrist.
Are there different types of arthritis?
Yes, there are multiple forms of arthritis that can affect the joints. Generally, we describe arthritis as degenerative or inflammatory. There are other forms or causes of arthritis, such as gout, infection, or post-traumatic.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis. Other types of inflammatory arthritis include psoriatic arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis.
How is rheumatoid arthritis different than other types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis? Do they have similarities?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune arthritis. It causes protective mechanisms in our body to instead attack certain structures, including the joints.
What is the cause of rheumatoid arthritis?
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Prepare For The Journey Of Arthritis
Many people who are newly-diagnosed want the quick fix or cure for arthritis. For most people with arthritis, however, there is no cure. There have been significant advances in treatment options over the years, but finding the right course of treatment can be a journey. It is not uncommon to start one course of treatment and have to change several times before you find what works best.
Also, it is important to realize that what brings relief to one person may be totally ineffective for you. There are many things to try, including exercise, so try to be patient as you go through the process of finding what works for you. Even after you have been treated for a period of time, it’s very important that you talk to your doctor about new or persistent symptoms. It may be time to change your treatment if your response is no longer satisfactory.
Why See A Hand Specialist
The reason you should see a hand specialist if you are experiencing arthritis pain in the hands is simple: hand specialists are experts in treating conditions like arthritis pain in the hands. No other physician can give you the expert care that this type of physician offers.
Would you see a heart specialist for your diabetes condition or an endocrinologist if you broke a bone? Of course not! There are a variety of medical doctors specializing in every subfield of medicine possible. Because no single doctor can specialize in every subfield of medicine, patients see specialized doctors for specific needs. Arthritis is an orthopedic condition that affects the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic physicians are experts in treating all types of musculoskeletal issues. Therefore, you should see an orthopedic physician if you have arthritis.
Further, arthritis can affect any joint in the body. Orthopedic physicians often have specializations in different parts of the body. Hand specialists are orthopedic physicians who have specialized education and experience treating orthopedic issues in the hands and wrists. This makes them experts in this particular subfield of orthopedic care.
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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.