Arthritis is a painful inflammation of the joint. Basically, a joint is comprised of two bones that are covered by cartilage and are conjoined together moving smoothly against each other. If the smooth surfaces of the joint becomes irregular or when the fitting of the bones wear out, arthritis will likely develop.
Hand arthritis is the most common arthritis that mainly affects the fingers. Hand arthritis is potentially both painful and disabling because the hands have nineteen bones and eight small bones that has several small joints. The most common types of hand arthritis are post-traumatic arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis while other causes are gout, psoriasis and infection.
Hand osteoarthritis is basically a joint disease due to wearing out of the cartilage that covers the bone surface. It can be caused by either a simple wearing out of the joint or it can develop after an injury. This type of hand arthritis mostly develops along the base of the thumb (the part that connects the thumb and the wrist), the end joint that is closest to the tip of the finger, at the middle joint of the finger and, of course, the wrist.
Pain, stiffness and swelling are the common symptoms of hand arthritis that result in diminished grip and pinch strength. In diagnosing hand arthritis, the doctor will examine if similar symptoms are being felt on other joints. The doctor will also study the clinical appearance of the hand to help determine the severity of the arthritis. Also, X-rays can help show the different characteristics of hand arthritis like narrowing of joint spaces and the development of bony outgrowths along the joint spaces.
There are several different treatments for relieving pain and restoring hand function. The most common treatment for hand arthritis is the use of anti-inflammatory and analgesic medicines. However, hand rest is also needed during medication. Wearing of hand and wrist support can also help.
Undergoing hand therapy is very helpful in restoring the function of the hand. There are different exercises for the hand that help loosen up the small joints. Steroid injection can also help get rid of pain but it does not really cure the disease.
Surgery is the last resort for treating hand arthritis. However, there are several factors to consider before surgery such as the patient’s age, weight, allergic reaction to medicines and response to previous treatment. For this reason, candidates for surgery are carefully selected.
Hand arthritis can be managed and treated using different methods. It is best that you consult your physician to learn about the ideal treatment for you.