Hand Arthritis

Arthritis in the hand is extremely common.  In most cases, this is due to osteoarthritis, but may also be related to previous injury, rheumatoid arthritis, and/or other systemic illness. There are many factors that can affect your symptoms and function.  Treatment for arthritis is patient specific, your doctor can help develop a plan tailored to your goals.

Causes and risk factors

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Females are more susceptible than men
  • Prior injury
  • Repetitive stress
  • Genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Auto-immune disease such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus

Symptoms

  • Burning pain
  • Sharp pain with use
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Bone spurs

Diagnosis and treatment

In most cases, the diagnosis can be made based on a physical exam and obtaining x-rays. Treatment for osteoarthritis varies depending on a patient’s goals. The following nonsurgical treatment options can be effective.

  • Activity modification
  • Massage
  • Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • Anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric or ginger
  • Topical pain relief creams/gels
  • Occupational/Physical Therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Prescription anti-inflammatory medications

If these treatments do not work, surgery may provide pain relief and/or improved function. On rare occasions, and/or if the arthritis is related to an auto-immune disease than evaluation by a rheumatologist can be warranted.

 
                

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