Achy Hands: Could It Be Arthritis?

The hands are some of the hardest working parts of our bodies. Many people don’t realize how much they actually do with their hands until something goes wrong. When the joints in the hands begin to ache or feel stiff, daily activities can become very difficult to accomplish. Arthritis in the hands is quite common, but it can cause bigger problems down the road if you do not receive proper treatment.
Dr. Christopher English, orthopedic surgeon from Davis Hospital and Medical Center, shares more information about arthritis. 
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the hands. This type is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis because it happens gradually and generally affects older adults. Rheumatoid arthritis is another common type of arthritis. It is a chronic disease that causes the lining in the joints to swell.
Symptoms of arthritis in the hands
  • Pain: This can be the earliest symptom of arthritis
  •  Swelling
  •  Reduced range of motion
  • Warmth around joints
  • Grating or grinding sensation in joints
  • Cysts on fingers
  • Treatment of arthritis in the hands
Early treatment is key to finding relief for arthritis. If you notice symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor. The goal of any treatment is to decrease pain and improve overall hand function.
Nonsurgical treatment
  • Medication (anti-inflammatories)
  • Steroid injections for pain
  • Splinting or wrapping of affected joint
  • Resting the joints
  • Warming of the hands
  • Hand exercises
Surgical treatment
  • Joint arthroscopy: Using a small camera and instrument to remove damaged areas of the joint
  • Joint reconstruction: Goal is to provide pain relief and restore function
  • Joint replacement: Maintains motion and provides pain relief
  • Joint fusion: If damage has progressed, joint fusion may be the best option

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