Osteoarthritis in Hands

You try to go about your daily activities and one thing keeps you stopped in your tracks:  osteoarthritis in hands.  Have you experienced that aching, dull and throbbing joint pain in your hands?  It’s enough pain to hinder your ability to open doors, get dressed or work on your computer.  We use our hands so much—any pain is debilitating!  It could be you are experiencing osteoarthritis in your hands.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can affect any of the joints in your body—including your hands.  Osteoarthritis in hands is commonly found in these four areas:

  • Fingertips
  • Middle knuckles of the fingers
  • Wrist
  • Basilar joint that joins your thumb and wrist

If you suffer from osteoarthritis in hands, the cartilage found between your joints wears down and your bones start to rub together without a cushion.   The bone in your hands can become inflamed without any of that cushion and be quite painful.

A bony protrusion known as a spur may also develop on the bone as a result of osteoarthritis in hands.  Bumps called Herberden’s nodes may show up in the joint at the end of the finger closest to the nail.  Bouchard’s nodes may also develop in the joint in the middle of the finger after developing hand osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis in Hands—The Risk Factors

Unfortunately, some of the risk factors for osteoarthritis in hands are unavoidable.  Genetics and age are common causes that are hard to prevent.  Here are some other common causes and risk factors:

  • Your profession requires you to work with your hands regularly—jobs such as a mechanic or construction are examples
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Joint misalignment or instability
  • Being overweight
  • Genetic bone or metabolic defects
  • Wear and tear over time and with age
  • After the age of 45, more woman are affected than men

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in Hands

Common symptoms may include:

  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Swelling and inflammation of the fingers and hand
  • Loss of range of motion in the hand
  • A grinding feeling or sound when joints move

Treatment for Osteoarthritis in Hands

The goal for treatment of hand osteoarthritis is to restore function, mobility and to eliminate pain.  This may be accomplished by:

  • Wrist or finger splints
  • Resting the joints
  • Hand exercises
  • Steroid injections into the affected joints
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Heat treatments
  • Cold treatments
  • Diet changes

Osteoarthritis of the hand can start off slowly and worsen as the years go by.  Early detection and treatment can help you to maintain a pain-free life.

Desert Hand Therapy is taking a hands-on approach to help with treatment for osteoarthritis in hands.

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