Finger arthritis is mainly caused by the wearing out of cartilages in the joints of the hands. A joint is basically the point where two bones meet and this connection has a special lining called cartilage that allow the two bones to move smoothly. If the cartilages in the joint of the hands wear out, finger arthritis will likely develop.
A single hand has twenty seven bones and finger arthritis is the most common among all types of arthritis. Moreover, we always use our hands in performing different activities causing overuse and subsequently, finger arthritis.
There are two types of finger arthritis – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The most common type of finger arthritis is osteoarthritis which is often referred to as wear-and-tear or degenerative joint disease. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the joints of the fingers is worn out causing the two bones to rub against each other. The joints that are the most affected are the middle finger knuckle and the joint closest to the fingertip. Also, pain at the base of the thumb is present.
Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand causes a different type of joint damage. This type of finger arthritis cause inflammation of the joint linings and the most affected areas are the knuckles at the base of the fingers.
Signs and symptoms of finger arthritis:
• Diminished mobility
Patients suffering from osteoarthritis often develop lumps and nodules along the finger knuckles causing the knuckles to swell and become stiff. The lumps that are found in the more distant knuckle are called Heberden’s nodes while the lumps located around the closer knuckle are called Bouchard’s nodes.
Patients who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis also have the same symptoms that can also develop into a more complex hand deformity. Such deformities like “Boutonniere” or “swan neck” deformity can occur causing the fingers to change from its normal position.
There are several treatment methods for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. These are the following:
• Anti-Inflammatory Medicines – Doctor prescribed medicines like Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen can help relieve swelling and pain brought about by finger arthritis.
• Cortisone Injections – This type of injection contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help remove the swelling and restore the functions of the hand.
• Hand Therapy – This is normally done by an occupational therapist for preventing joint stiffness.
• Cold and hot therapy – Alternate application of cold and hot packs also remove joint stiffness.
• Surgery – This procedure removes a small portion of the arthritic joint and bone then afterwards the space is filled with a tendon graft. This method is a very effective way to relieve pain and for restoring hand function.
To obtain more information about finger arthritis and what method of treatment is suitable for you, consult with your doctor.