Relief Remedies For Osteoarthritis Finger Joint Pain
What Does Finger Joint Pain Mean?
For those living with any type of hand arthritis, the associated pain can be debilitating, dramatically affecting your quality of life. Stiff, achy fingers can make it challenging to use your hands, turning even simple daily routines into frustrations. While there is no cure for osteoarthritis as of today, there are several things you can do to alleviate your symptoms and gain greater control over your life.
12 Relief Remedies for Osteoarthritis Finger Joint Pain
Here are several home remedies and medical procedures that can help treat stiff and aching fingers:
Pain in your fingers and knuckles may indicate you suffer from osteoarthritis. This degenerative disease can strike any joint in the body, but most commonly affects the hands and fingers. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage between joints to wear down, creating inflammation. The damage occurs at a rate greater than the bodys ability to heal. This leads to stiffness and pain as the bones rub together without adequate cushion or buffer.
Symptoms of finger joint pain vary depending on the type of arthritis and the degree of cartilage wear. The discomfort associated with arthritis is often accompanied by redness and swelling of the joints. Many people experience cramping, burning, difficulty moving fingers, and a weak grip.
Controlling Finger Joint Pain What Helps?
Splinting / Bracing
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.
Arthritis In The Hand And Fingers
Osteoarthritis frequently affects the joints of the hand and fingers. The symptoms of arthritis are pain, reduced movement, swelling and in more advanced cases deformity.
Healthy joint surfaces are covered with a very smooth layer of cartilage in osteoarthritis the cartilage layer becomes worn and the rough bone beneath it is exposed. The rough surface does not move freely and causes pain, stiffness and swelling. Osteoarthritis may be caused by wear and tear over a long period, or occur after an injury, particularly a fracture around a joint.
Arthritis in the hand and fingers in the early stages is usually treated symptomatically with anti-inflammatory painkillers. I will recommend the best treatment with modern non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines and dietary supplements that may also help. Hand therapy treatments are often helpful, these include splintage to help an acute painful episode settle down, and joint strengthening programmes. Joint stabilisation programmes are particularly useful for the wrist and base of thumb joint.
Following the surgical treatments described, hand therapy is important my hand therapy team will provide custom-made light weight splints to protect the hand and supervise a hand therapy programme.
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Causes Of Arthritis In The Hands
Arthritic conditions can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness in the small joints of the hands and fingers.
Inflammatory arthritis conditions, like RA, psoriatic arthritis, gout, and ankylosing spondylitis cause inflammation. Symptoms of inflammation include redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. In general, OA is degenerative, rather than inflammatory.
Top Tips For Managing Arthritis In Your Hands
The internet is overloaded with advice and exercise tips that are good for your hands, and information overload can be overwhelming. Therefore, we have put together a helpful list of tips to manage arthritis pain in your hands, exercises that will help and other useful information.
Arthritis in the hands presents with painful joints, swelling, difficulty with movement, and limited function, like being unable to grip properly. Clinical interventions aim to reduce pain, control swelling, improve range of motion and improve the function of the hand, like gripping.
Early in March, Gail Donaldson, a physiotherapist from Wellhand, did a talk in Wellington and advised people with arthritis in their hands about how they can manage pain and do useful exercises. Much of the information in this article is from the presentation. The video link is at the end of this article.
As with all exercise advice for people with arthritis always work within your comfort level and do not force any movements. No one can tell you how often or how long you should do any exercise.
Your arthritis pain and discomfort is unique to you, and you will need to find your balance. Remember, a key thing to help you find your balance is: too much exercise causes pain, too little exercise cause stiffness. Trial different exercises for different periods and find your balance.
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Recognizing Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Hands
Women are more likely than men to have arthritis in their hands, and often people experience arthritis symptoms in their hands before other signs of arthritis show up. Different forms of arthritis affect the hands in different ways. For example, psoriatic arthritis, a type of arthritis related to the skin condition psoriasis, is most likely to cause pain in the joints closest to the fingernails , while in osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, cartilage can wear down in all the joints in the fingers and thumb. Symptoms of arthritis in the hands may include:
- Pain in some or all of the joints, including joints of the fingers, wrists, and thumbs
- The growth of bony knobs on finger joints
- Numbness in fingers
- Swollen, red, or warm joints
- Stiffness in the fingers, especially in the morning in patients who have rheumatoid arthritis
- Growth of lumps, or nodules, under the skin of the hands in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
- Fingers that look like swollen sausages in patients with psoriatic arthritis
- Difficulty with motions that require gripping and twisting, such as opening jars
The progression of arthritis in the hands can actually be measured. People with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis lose bone density, which can be measured with bone-density scanning, while the joint damage of osteoarthritis can usually be seen on X-rays.
Simple Ways To Manage Hand Osteoarthritis
When osteoarthritis affects your hands, everyday activities such as opening jars and using a cell phone can be difficult. Arthritic joints in the hands or wrists may be painful, stiff, and weaker than normal. Thankfully, there are many ways to help manage this condition.
Osteoarthritis in the hand or wrist joints can make it hard to open jars or grip objects. SeeRecognizing Osteoarthritis in the Hand
Read on to learn 5 simple strategies for coping with osteoarthritic pain in the hand.
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How Do I Relieve Arthritis Hand Pain
Arthritis hand pain typically can be relieved with the use of anti-inflammatory medications or pain relieving injections. There are also natural home remedies that could be effective for the temporary relief of arthritis hand pain, including heat, ice, and various herbal tea concoctions. When pain is severe and non-responsive to other types of treatment, a doctor might recommend wearing a splint on the hand. If all options for pain relief have failed, surgery may ultimately be necessary.
The anti-inflammatory drugs a doctor will usually recommend for the relief of arthritis hand pain include acetaminophen and ibuprofen. He may also prescribe stronger medicines containing these ingredients for people with severe arthritis pain. If these medicines fail to provide relief, the next option is typically injections. Most injections contain a long-lasting anesthetic that may provide relief for a few days. Injections containing steroids can provide pain relief for a few months, but doctors normally only use these for people with very severe arthritis pain.
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.
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Avoid Tasks That Make The Pain Worse
Try to avoid tasks that are causing the pain or making it worse. This may be anything that has a repetitive nature, such as using a screwdriver, painting or lifting heavy objects. You might be able to change the way you do some tasks to take the strain off your hands and wrists. Some conditions affecting the hand and wrist wont get better until you stop doing certain tasks.
Arthritis In Hands And Fingers
Our hands are capable of many functions, providing precision for delicate tasks as well as enabling us to complete heavier, physicallydemanding jobs.If youre living with arthritis in your hands, fingers, or thumbs, protecting your joints is so important. The 29 joints in our hands arecommon areas for arthritis, and when these joints become arthritic they can make every day activities very difficult and even painful.
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Integrative Medicine Treatments For Hand Arthritis
Many doctors today recommend a treatment plan that uses integrative medicinea combination of conventional Western medicine and alternative medicine. Both Western and alternative treatments are supported by research.
Occupational therapy For many patients, hand exercises can be the most cost-effective treatment option.1 A licensed occupational therapist can teach a person exercises that help strengthen the joints in the wrists and fingers, improve hand dexterity, and protect joints from further degeneration.
SplintingStabilize and support the hand joints with splints. There are several different types of braces, including smaller braces that stabilize individual knuckles and larger ones that stabilize the wrist and hand. Bracing at night can prevent pain from interrupting sleep .
People who find braces too cumbersome or rigid to wear all the time may wear compression gloves or sleeves instead. The goal of these products is to support joints while allowing for some flexibility.
MedicationsBoth topical and oral pain medications can temporarily ease pain caused by hand arthritis.
- Topical pain relievers come in the form of creams, balms, gels, or patches, and are sold over-the-counter. Certain topical products require a physicians prescription.
When To See A Doctor
Hand and wrist pain often gets better with things you can do at home.
However, youll need to visit your GP surgery if:
- your pain isnt getting better after treatment at home for two weeks
- the pain is getting worse
- the pain keeps returning
- the pain is stopping you from doing your everyday activities
- your hands are stiff and swollen, particularly in the mornings and these feelings dont get better after half an hour
- as well as being swollen and stiff, your hands are warm and red
- you also feel generally unwell, especially if you have a high temperature
- you have ongoing tingling, numbness or weakness in the hands or fingers.
Its important to get urgent medical attention, if:
- you think youve broken a bone
- you have extreme pain
- any part of your hand, wrist or fingers is a funny shape or colour
- you have lost the feeling of part or all of your hand
- there was a snap, grinding or popping noise when you injured your hand or wrist
- you cant move your hand, wrist or fingers properly.
If you have ongoing hand and wrist pain or a specific condition affecting the hand and wrist it could be helpful to see a hand therapist. These are healthcare professionals with expertise in treating conditions affecting the hand and wrist. Your GP, rheumatology department or orthopaedic department could refer you to one.
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How To Get Rid Of Arthritis In Fingers
Arthritis of the fingers can be quite uncomfortable, causing symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. These symptoms make hand motions like grasping and pinching difficult, which restricts a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two types of arthritis that most commonly affect the finger joints. Depending on which type of arthritis affects your finger joints, you may experience additional symptoms.
Thankfully, numerous remedies can help alleviate the discomfort from arthritis of the fingers, from hand exercises to help strengthen your fingers to over-the-counter and prescription pain medications and surgical treatments.
Adaptive Devices And Rest
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Osteoarthritis Of The Hands
Get more information about the causes, symptoms and treatments of hand OA, which is very common and can be debilitating.
About half of all women and one-quarter of all men will experience the stiffness and pain of osteoarthritis of the hands by the time they are 85 years old. A degenerative disease that affects all the tissues of a joint, OA leads to the breakdown over time of the smooth, protective cartilage on the ends of bones, so bones rub together, causing pain. The 29 bones of your hands and wrists come together to form many small joints that can be affected by OA.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In Hands And Fingers
While not everyone with arthritis in the joints in hands will experience all of these symptoms and some people may not even have anysymptoms at all, below are some common symptoms for hand arthritis:
- Joint pain. This is initially experienced as a dull, burning sensation after a particularly busy day. As arthritisadvances, the pain becomes sharper and more constant, even occurring at rest.
- Joint stiffness. This is common in the morning but also occurs after a long day of work or activity involving the hands
- Crepitus. This is a grinding, grating feeling or a crunchy sound in the hands or wrists on movement.
- Weakness. It can begin to get difficult to grasp an object or maintain a strong grip or pinch.
- Warmth or redness. It is common to feel warmth or redness where the joint, ligaments or tissues have become inflamed.
- Swelling. Swollen joints in fingers, hands and thumbs are very common and can lead to a puffier appearance.
- Loss of movement. Particularly as arthritis progresses, you may notice loss of movement in the affected joints.
- Joint shape. You may notice changes in joint shape, or a slight turn in the direction of a finger or thumb.This is usually caused by uneven wearing of cartilage or weakness surrounding tissues or ligaments.
- Knobbly or crooked fingers. Bone spurs can give a knobbly or crooked appearance to fingers and thumbs, and in some casescan also reduce the function of fingers or thumbs.
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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.
Hand Exercises To Ease Arthritis Pain
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When arthritis affects the joints of the hands, it can cause pain and stiffness. That pain can get worse whenever you use your hand a lot for repetitive tasks.
For example, typing on a computer keyboard or gripping utensils in the kitchen can cause discomfort. You may also lose strength in your hands.
Weakness in your hands can make it hard to do even the simplest everyday tasks, such as opening jars.
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