Effects On Your Daily Life
- See a doctor or other relevant healthcare professional if youre unable to do everyday tasks due to joint or muscle pain.
- If youve lifted something heavy and hurt your back, for example, take some painkillers, apply some heat and try to stay active. If the pain doesnt ease after a couple of weeks or so, see a doctor.
Its important to see a doctor if you get any new symptoms or if you have any trouble with drugs youre taking.
If you have an appointment with a doctor, to help make sure you get the most out of it, you could take a list of questions with you and tick them off as they are discussed.
You could also keep a symptoms diary with details of how youre feeling in between appointments. Some people find that taking a friend or relative with them to an appointment can provide support and ensure that all important points are discussed.
Key Points About Arthritis
Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases cause pain, swelling, and limited movement in joints and connective tissues in the body.
Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases can affect people of all ages. They are more common in women than men.
Symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, or redness in 1 or more joints.
There is no cure for arthritis. The treatment goal is to limit pain and inflammation and preserve joint function.
Treatment options include medicines, weight reduction, exercise, and surgery.
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.
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Complementary And Alternative Medicine
If you prefer a natural approach to treating arthritis, or would like to explore complementary options, it’s imperative that you tell your healthcare provider what you want to try . There are many alternative treatment options that, while popular, are not verified for effectiveness and safety.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health , reports on the effectiveness of some CAM treatments for arthritis:
Be wary of dietary supplements or herbal treatments sold for arthritis relief. You could experience dangerous side effects or drug interactions and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that many are tainted with prescription drugs.
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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Nutritional Supplements And Dietary Changes
There’s no strong evidence to suggest that specific dietary changes can improve rheumatoid arthritis, although some people with rheumatoid arthritis feel their symptoms get worse after they have eaten certain foods.
If you think this may be the case for you, it may be useful to try avoiding problematic foods for a few weeks to see if your symptoms improve.
But it’s important to ensure your overall diet is still healthy and balanced. A Mediterranean-style diet, which is based on vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish and unsaturated fats such as olive oil, is recommended.
There’s also little evidence supporting the use of supplements in rheumatoid arthritis, although some can be useful in preventing side effects of medicines you may be taking.
There’s some evidence to suggest that taking fish oil supplements may help reduce joint pain and stiffness caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
- National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society : diet and rheumatoid arthritis
Page last reviewed: 28 August 2019 Next review due: 28 August 2022
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Arthritis Of The Knee
There are many signs and symptoms of arthritis of the knee:
- Creaking, clicking, grinding or snapping noises .
- Difficulty walking.
- Joint pain that changes depending on the weather.
- Joint stiffness.
- Knee joint pain that progresses slowly or pain that happens suddenly.
- Skin redness.
- Your knee locks or sticks when its trying to move.
- Warm skin.
Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis of the knee. Some treatments might reduce the severity of your symptoms or even stall the progression. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of knee arthritis.
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What Otc And Prescription Drugs Treat Spinal Osteoarthritis
Over-the-counter and prescription medications for spinal arthritis are usually the same as those taken to treat joint-related arthritic pain in the hips and kneesunless the diagnosis is rheumatoid or another type of inflammatory arthritis. For patients with symptoms of pain or numbness affecting the arms or legs, a may be considered.
Today, people with spinal arthritis have access to different types of pain medications that can be taken or applied to relieve pain. Some require a doctor’s prescription, some do not. However, do not assume that just because a drug is available without a prescription, or over the counter, that it is safe for everyone.
Wrist Hand Or Finger Splints
If youre going through a bad arthritis flare-up, using resting splints can help quiet the active inflammation and give you some relief, Dr. Osterman says. These are devices, usually made of plastic and secured with velcro, that temporarily immobilize the joint, which allows it time to rest, he explains.
Im only 22, but some of my fingers are already severely bent and fused from having juvenile arthritis. Splints are helpful for the pain and for helping keep them straight so hopefully they dont bend more, says rheumatoid arthritis patient Emma A., from Melbourne, Australia. My favorites are ring splints since they look like jewelry instead of a medical brace.
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Types Of Medication That Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
When prescribing a medication, a physician will take into account the patients age, disease activity, and other medical conditions, but each patient is unique. Figuring out which medication or combination of medications work best for an individual can be challenging and often requires a process of trial and error.
These Arthritis Home Remedies May Be Worth A Try As Part Of Your Overall Doctor
While medication is a cornerstone and critical part of managing arthritis, home remedies and lifestyle changes can be important in your arthritis treatment plan too, says Susan Blum, MD, MPH, chronic disease specialist, assistant clinical professor in the department of preventive medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and author of Healing Arthritis: The 3-Step Guide To Conquering Arthritis Naturally.
You need to treat arthritis from a whole body perspective, not simply a medical one, which means incorporating all facets of wellness, including what you do at home, she says. She knows firsthand of what she speaks, noting that she uses home remedies to help her own arthritis and autoimmune disorder. She swears by a daily meditation, green smoothies, gardening, and walking outdoors.
However, its important to note that home remedies should not replace medication. And you need a healthy amount of skepticism when deciding which ones to try and implement, says Don R. Martin, MD, a rheumatologist with Sentara RMH Rheumatology in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Many natural remedies arent backed by science or the research is very limited or weak. And even for therapies that have shown to be effective, supplements and natural therapies are not regulated the same way prescription medications are, so the purity and quality can vary widely, he adds.
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Best Supplements For Arthritis
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You may believe that once you get arthritis in a joint, theres nothing you can do about it.
Thats probably what you saw happening to your grandparents. As they aged, the body they had became an accumulation of nothing but injuries, scars, and pain.
Every time they moved, their movement was restricted and you may have watched some of them become disabled because of knee arthritis, shoulder arthritis or arthritis plus bursitis in the hip.
Most likely, your grandparents with arthritis may have gone to the grave with arthritis. It never went away.
How To Treat Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that occurs when the cartilage insulating the joints breaks down. With less protection, the joint area becomes irritated and inflamed, leading to chronic pain, swelling and stiffness. Although there is no cure for arthritis, it is possible to alleviate the symptoms from swollen and painful joints to improve your quality of life. Over-the-counter medications like arthritis cream and pain relief can be used as a part of an overall medical treatment plan for arthritis relief, and CVS makes it easy to buy them.
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Are Glucosamine And Chondroitin Supplements Helpful For Treating Osteoarthritis Of The Hand
Supplements are not reviewed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration . They are not required to undergo the same rigorous clinical trial methods that medications must undergo in the U.S. Some clinical trials show benefits with pain relief however, there is no proof that these supplements slow the progression of osteoarthritis. If you plan to try these, always check with your healthcare provider before using supplements. These products may interfere with medications you currently take.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Dull or burning joint pain, morning stiffness, swollen joints in your hand are all symptoms of arthritis. Many types of arthritis could affect your hands. Many treatment options are available depending on your exact arthritis type. Medications can reduce joint pain and swelling. Researchers are still working on ways to slow the progression of osteoarthritis. See your healthcare provider if you think you have arthritis in your hands. They will perform a complete exam and offer you a complete treatment plan, which includes hand exercises, use of hot and cold packs, other lifestyle tips and traditional treatments including medications, braces/splints, steroid injections and surgery.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/06/2021.
More Approaches To Fight The Joint Pain Of Arthritis
Taking medication isnt the only way to treat arthritis pain. Other options include:
There are many arthritis treatment options available to you to help manage your pain, so dont despair you dont have to muddle through without relief. Just keep in mind that you may need to try a few different therapies before you figure out which arthritis treatments work best for you.
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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.
Home Remedies For Arthritis But Only One Works
Arthritis is a common disease affecting millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of new cases are identified each year in the United States.
When you are suffering from arthritis, it quickly becomes clear that its not just joints that are affected. RA can also cause severe fatigue, fevers, weight loss, anemia, in addition to causing additional problems throughout the major organs . Sufferers often experience dry mouth, dry eyes, shortness of breath, damaged nerves, malaise, and small skin lumps, just to name a few.
So, how do you get relief? If you would prefer not to take prescription medications nor undergo surgery, there are several natural home remedies that have some reported rates of success in treating symptoms of RA. Want to know whats so great about these methods, in addition to getting some relief from your symptoms? The products used in these natural remedies are very easy to find. The following seven treatments are the most common homeopathic remedies. Bear in mind that response to these remedies will be different for each individual as the disease presents and progresses differently in each individual. Make sure to discuss with your doctor any home remedies that you are considering as they may interact with your body and prescription medications in ways that you did not realize.
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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.
Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors
Tumor necrosis factor alpha is a pro-inflammatory cytokine produced by macrophages and lymphocytes. It is found in large quantities in the rheumatoid joint and is produced locally in the joint by synovial macrophages and lymphocytes infiltrating the joint synovium. TNF is one of the critical cytokines that mediate joint damage and destruction due to its activities on many cells in the joint as well as effects on other organs and body systems. TNF antagonists were the first of the biological DMARDS to be approved for the treatment of RA. These drugs began to enter the market for rheumatoid arthritis in 1999 and are now considered a part the ACR recommendations for treatment of RA. There are currently five TNF inhibitors FDA approved for the treatment of RA etanercept , infliximab , adalimumab , certolizumab pegol , and golimumab . Etanercept is a soluble TNF receptor-Fc immunoglobulin fusion construct infliximab, adalimumab, and golimumab are monoclonal antibodies and certolizumab pegol is an anti-TNF antigen binding domain-polyethylene glycol construct. While differing in structure, the efficacy and safety of the drugs is similar across the class in reducing the signs and symptoms of RA, as well as in slowing or halting radiographic damage, when used either as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate.
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