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.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Thumb Arthritis
Figure 1: Board certified, fellowship-trained, Dr. Boyd Lumsden performs office examination
The orthopedic physicians at Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin are highly experienced in hand and upper extremity injuries and conditions. A thorough examination is conducted and all prior hand, wrist, and arm injuries and conditions are explored . Old thumb injuries and conditions are reviewed. X-rays typically are ordered to view the damage of the joint and how the degenerative arthritis has affected the cartilage in the CMC joint.
Utilizing the X-ray findings in combination with the physicians examination, thumb arthritis is classified in stages of I, II, III, or IV. Stage I will display limited damage to the CMC joint as the levels increase, the damage to the cartilage becomes more widespread. Bone spurs, narrowing of the joint space and even joint dislocation may be seen in Stage IV.
In early stages, basal joint arthritis treatment options are typically conservative depending on the severity of symptoms. Mild anti-inflammatories, reduced activities, and splinting most often will deter early symptoms however, since it is a degenerative disease, symptoms do worsen over time.
A cortisone injection is another option for temporary pain relief.
Basal Joint Arthritis Surgery
When conservative measures no longer ease the pain and discomfort, basal joint arthritis surgery is recommended. Surgery options are available and include:
What Can I Expect When Recovering From Hand Surgery
From surgery to complete recovery, surgical treatment for basal thumb arthritis takes about three months. After surgery, you will have to wear a thumb splint for 4-8 weeks, depending on what surgical procedure is used. Once youre done with the splint, a progressive physical therapy program helps you regain mobility and strength in your hand.
Call 1-888-847=8823 to schedule a consultation with a Virtua hand surgeon.
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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.
|Oval-8 Finger Splint for Trigger Thumb|
While this information can be useful to help narrow down what your thumb problem might be, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a health care professional before beginning any treatment. Treating your symptoms with the wrong diagnosis can not only delay proper healing, it may also make your condition worse.
Changes To Your Lifestyle
How you manage day-to-day activities can make a big difference in the impact basal thumb arthritis has on your lifestyle. Self-care measures that may be helpful include:
- using your thumb in a position where the joint surfaces are in most contact, eg, your thumb and index finger should make a circle when holding objects, not collapsing towards each other
- taking frequent breaks when doing activities that involve your thumb
- using bigger joints such as your shoulder or elbow joint to carry out daily activities
- using 2 hands instead of one hand
- using special equipment to ease activities such as opening jars
- modifying equipment that is skinny or difficult to hold by making it fatter, and easier to grip
- wearing a splint to support you thumb
- applying cold packs or gentle heat to reduce swelling and relieve pain a good pair of warm gloves will help in winter
- ‘arthritis gloves’ can help to keep your hand and thumb warm and give light compression, which may help with swelling and pain.
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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.
Do I Have Thumb Arthritis
Do you repeatedly hear yourself say my thumb hurts because of the pain you feel at the base of your thumb when you pinch or grasp something? If so, you may have CMC joint arthritis, also known as thumb arthritis. There are 3 stages of thumb arthritis, which is one of the most common forms of arthritis.
The good news is there are things you can do to help ease your pain and lessen the progression of your arthritis.
|for more information on how to treat your thumb problem|
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Stage 2 Of Thumb Arthritis
As your arthritis progresses, you may feel pain even when you are doing light activities or simply relaxing. You may also experience pain and tenderness when you touch the area around the joint of your thumb. At this point, you may also notice the base of your thumb sticking out and looking as though it is a little ledge or step. Now if there were any doubt before that you have CMC arthritis, your thumb is definitely telling you otherwise.
Treatments For Hand And Finger Pain
Once your hand surgeon or orthopedic hand specialist has diagnosed the issue, they will then be able to provide you with a treatment plan that will help address the pain and also the root cause. In mild to moderate cases of hand problems and injuries, your doctor may also be able to recommend techniques you can do at home to help manage your pain while your hand heals. Alternating heat and cold temperatures can help provide immediate relief, especially when swelling is involved. They may also recommend medication to help with swelling and inflammation that is contributing to pain. Some causes of hand pain like arthritis can get worse with age and time, so it is important to diagnose this early so your doctor can help you avoid chronic pain and discomfort.
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Injury To The Thumb Joints
Injuries to the thumb joints can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis because joints that have been damaged tend to generate more friction and are more prone to sustaining more damage. Therefore, people who have a history of multiple injuries to the thumb joints may develop osteoarthritis of the thumb at a younger age than they otherwise would have.
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 Meet With A Doctor
If you are experiencing pain in your hand that wont go away and is affecting your ability to complete daily tasks, you should meet with a doctor or hand surgeon to learn more about what is going on. You should also seek medical treatment immediately if you notice you are no longer able to move your thumb, or notice that your thumb and surrounding area looks swollen or crooked.
Because our hands are so important and integral to our daily lives, you want to trust your diagnosis and treatment of any hand issue to a doctor who specialized in working with hands. A hand surgeon or orthopedic hand specialist actually receives additional advanced training in treating hand problems.
Treatments Methods To Relieve Symptoms
Finger arthritis is easily diagnosed because it is common. Most treatments for finger arthritis will match treatments for arthritis in general. These can include medications like:
- Topical creams: These usually contain ingredients like capsaicin or diclofenac, which are applied over the skin around the joint and can relieve pain and soothe inflammation.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Acetaminophen , ibuprofen or naproxen sodium are common choices. Always take these in accordance with the guidance on the label.
- Prescription pain relievers: Celecoxib or tramadol . These are unlikely to be prescribed for mild symptoms.
Many patients also benefit from exercises to treat their finger arthritis. Some exercises that may help include:
- Make a fist: Slowly and deliberately form a fist, then release it until the fingers are straight again. This is a great way to get all your fingers and your whole hand moving at once, and its easy to do literally anywhere.
- Finger bends: Slowly bend each finger at each joint, holding it in each position for a few seconds. This is a great way to focus on an individual finger thats bothering you.
- Thumb bends: Gently touch your thumb to the base of your pinkie, or as close as you can comfortably reach.
- Finger lifts: Putting your hand flat on a table, gently lift each finger individually.
There are many more arthritis exercises than just these, so you can always talk to your doctor if you are unsure of what to do.
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How Does Osteoarthritis Affect The Joint At The Base Of Your Thumb
The joint at the base of your thumb is known as the basal joint. It is where the carpal bone meets the first metacarpal bone of your thumb. The joint is also known as a carpometacarpal joint.
The thumb base joint is a small joint that gets put under a lot of force with every-day use. The ends of the 2 bones are a shallow saddle-shape and sit together like a rider on a saddle. This allows a lot of movement but is not very stable. If the short ropes that hold the bones together and muscles are not keeping the bone ends well-aligned or under a lot of stress and strain, then the force that goes through the joint can cause injury to the covering on the bone ends , ligaments and bone. This gradual injury can cause swelling , reduce movement and result in pain in the base of your thumb. Recovery may be limited by repeated stress and strain and other factors such as age.
Treatment For Basal Joint Arthritis
OTC pain medications are the first-line treatment for easing the pain of basal joint arthritis, but there are other options too. During activities that involve a lot of thumb movement, patients can wear a spica splint, which goes around the wrist and thumb to keep the joint stable. A physical therapist can also teach people with basal joint arthritis how to do thumb exercises to avoid aggravating the condition.
When OTC meds arent enough, a doctor might recommend getting corticosteroid injections every few months, which ease the pain by reducing inflammation of the joint.
Some physicians might also consider injecting hyaluronic acid, a fluid that those with osteoarthritis lose, which is thought to contribute to joint pain. The injections are FDA-approved for large joints but not the thumb, though the off-label use could provide relief for basal joint arthritis too.
If all else fails and excruciating pain from basal joint arthritis still gets in the way of everyday life, surgery is an option. Fusing, repositioning, or removing the joint could help provide more lasting relief.
For those looking for extra pain relief in addition to what the medicine cabinet can offer, massage, acupuncture, and wax therapy can be helpful too, says Dr. Alade. All of those things make a difference, she says.
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Which Thumb Braces Are Best For Different Activity Levels
Most thumb braces are designed for different levels of support for different activity levels. In general, you should look for adjustable braces that let you control how much compression and support they provide.
- If you will be wearing the brace during daytime activity, look for lightweight options that are designed to support while still allowing some motion
- When you have to do something that requires dexterity, look for non-bulky materials that let you hold things in your hand so you are not tempted to take it off
In some cases, you might need two splints, one for nighttime and one for daytime. Depending on the severity of your condition and your level of pain, the brace you need when you are active or out and about, may not be what you need at night or at rest. During the day, when you need to move more, you may need a light support splint that provides light compression without completely restricting your thumb motion. A firm, comfortable thumb brace at night limits motion and enables the thumb joints to rest, reducing pain and inflammation.
Its always recommended that you consult with your health care provider before beginning any treatment. When looking for what thumb brace is best for you, it really depends on your thumb arthritis pain level. Often you can start off with a light support brace that provides compression to reduce your pain, but still allows you to function.
What Is A Saddle Joint
Your thumb is a saddle joint, which means one bone sits in the other bone like a saddle. This is different from the ball and socket joint you have in your knee or elbow. This saddle joint is what gives you opposable thumbs. It also affects the way that your thumbs move, which is different from your ball and socket joints. â
This type of joint can wear down faster, which makes your thumbs more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
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Causes Of Pain Between Fingers
Sometimes we experience pain in our hand simply due to overuse or wear and tear, or from a specific injury to your hand. However, there are also other reasons why you might experience pain in your hand, specifically pain between your thumb and index finger. There are a few different causes for why the muscle in between your thumb and index finger could become injured, damaged, or inflamed.
What Are The Symptoms Of Basal Thumb Arthritis
Because your CMC joint enables your thumb to swivel, pivot, grip and pinch, basal thumb arthritis causes pain when making just about any thumb motion. Tasks such as opening a jar or turning a key can be especially painful. Common symptoms of basal thumb arthritis include:
- Pain or loss of strength when gripping or pinching
- Swelling or tenderness around the joint
- Limited range of motion in the thumb
- Aching or discomfort after prolonged use
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Exercise For Your Thumbs
Your doctor or a physical therapist may recommend hand exercises. You can do these exercises to improve range of motion and improve your arthritis symptoms.
Simple exercises can include a thumb stretch, in which you attempt to touch the tip of your thumb to just under your pinky finger.
Another stretch, called IP, uses flexion. It requires you to hold your thumb stable with your other hand and attempt to bend just the upper part of the thumb. And an additional exercise is to simply touch the tips of each of your fingers to the tip of your thumb.
You should only do these exercises after consulting with your doctor or physical therapist. And be sure to get instructions to make sure youre doing the movements correctly.
What Does The Procedure Entail
- The procedure involves removing the small wrist bone that is a part of the CMC joint and replacing it with a wrist flexor tendon.
- A 1.5-inch incision is made over the CMC joint, and the trapezium wrist bone is removed.
- A small incision is then made in the forearm to release a wrist flexor tendon.
- The wrist flexor tendon is attached to the base of the thumb metacarpal bone with a bone anchor.
- The remainder of the tendon is rolled into a ball and placed into the void left by the trapezium, creating a cushion between the remaining bones.
- Incisions are closed with absorbable sutures.
- The hand is covered by a dressing, and a plaster splint is placed on the hand to immobilize the wrist and a portion of the thumb.
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What Thumb Brace Is Best For Thumb Arthritis
Updated: 9-2-21: All you have to do is go online or visit your local drug store to see how many options there are for thumb braces. Custom made, ready made, splints for resting your thumb, braces to support your thumb the list is long! So how do you find the answer to the question what thumb brace is best for thumb arthritis? Read on for tips on what to look for in a thumb brace and which thumb braces are best for your thumb arthritis pain and different activity levels.