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
- Females are more susceptible than men
- Prior injury
- Repetitive stress
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Auto-immune disease such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus
- Burning pain
- Sharp pain with use
- 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
- 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.