Arthritis of the Hand
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When experiencing arthritis of the hand (also known as hand osteoarthritis) it is common for the condition to cause pain and stiffness in your joints while performing basic tasks, such as opening a jar. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis but there are ways in which you can ease your joint pain to make the condition more manageable.
Arthritis occurs from wear and tear on your joints. Everyone has cartilage at the end of their bones to help cushion the joints. The cartilage allows your joints to slide more easily. However, as we age, the cartridge gets worn down, and bones begin to rub on each other. Therefore, causing symptoms of arthritis of the hand (osteoarthritis.)
There are certain things which can increase your chances of arthritis of the hand, which include:
If you have an injury, such as a broken bone or a dislocation, your chances increase for hand arthritis, even if treated. Another risk increase is joint infections. Also, your genes play a role in this too. Therefore, arthritis can run in families.
Typically, the most common symptoms occur in the morning when you experience pain and stiffness. It’s also common for your joints to be sore after overuse. Although, you will not feel the pain right away only once at rest.
Arthritis of the Hands often worsens over time. The pain may become sharper and constant. It can so severe that you can no longer bend your finger joints all the way.
Additional symptoms of Arthritis of the Hand may include:
Bumps & Lumps: There are two types of bony protrusions near your finger joints. The first is called Bouchard’s Nodes, which show up on the middle joint of a finger. Additionally, Heberden’s Nodes on the joint near your fingertip is another normal bump. When experiencing arthritis of the hands, you’re also more likely to get cysts. Which are protrusions filled with fluid near your fingertip joints.
Clicking & Cracking: This sound is normal when you have arthritis of the hands. The clicking and cracking are the sound of your joints rubbing against each other as cartilage breaks down.
Our team of orthopedic surgeons are experts in the treatment of arthritis of the hand. Whether you have just begun to experience symptoms or have been experiencing the symptoms for a while, you can count on us for an effective arthritis management plan to ease the pain. You can visit any of our offices in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs, Plantation, and Fort Lauderdale.
To properly diagnose arthritis of the hand, your surgeon will take a comprehensive medical history, including prior injuries, information of daily activities, and a history of symptoms. Images are often ordered to determine if you’re experiencing this condition.
X-rays are often ordered, but these will not show cartilage itself on the x-ray. However, cartilage loss is released by a narrowing of space between the bone joints. There have been cases where people experience x-ray evidence of osteoarthritis before any symptoms appear.
MRIs are additional imaging testing sometimes used to determine arthritis. An MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed imaging of bone and soft tissues, including cartilage.
Lab Tests are also often used to diagnose arthritis of the hand. Although there is no specific blood test to determine if one has arthritis there are tests to help rule out other causes of joint pain.
It is not currently possible for arthritis of the hand to be cured but it is possible for symptoms to be managed with lifestyle changes, physical therapy, medications, injections, and surgical options.
Also, see: How Physical and Occupational Therapy Can Help
When symptoms do not improve with conservative treatment, surgery may be needed for severe cases, including the following:
Joint replacement. In joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty), your surgeon removes your damaged joint surfaces and replaces them with plastic and metal parts. Surgical risks include infections and blood clots. Artificial joints can wear out or come loose and may need to eventually be replaced.
Also, see: 6 Tips for Preventing Hand Arthritis