Arthritis in the Hands and Fingers
- Pain in the hand and/or fingers
- Joints of the hand and fingers may be warm and tender to the touch
- Deformities such as enlarged knuckles or crooked finger(s)
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is loss of cartilage (cushioning material) between the bones resulting in bone-on-bone contact. Loss of this cartilage results in pain and limited range of motion sometimes occurs. In severe cases, the joint may become unstable resulting in a boney “bump” at the joints.
Two types of arthritis commonly occur in the hand and fingers, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammatory disease that affects the lining of your joints. Another less common inflammatory arthritis, called psoriatic arthritis, occurs in people with psoriasis. The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is often the result of overuse or injury and is usually hereditary. Osteoarthritis is a result of loss of cartilage in the joint and often causes bone spurs to develop around the knuckles. These deformities can be extremely painful and disrupt normal hand function. As arthritis affects alignment of the joint surfaces. All types of arthritis can cause aching, swelling, and stiff joints.
Splinting the affected joint(s), taking anti-inflammatories, and/or receiving corticosteroid injection(s) may help treat pain and discomfort associated with mild cases of arthritis. Supplementing with glucosamine, chondroitin or other natural anti-inflammatories may be helpful. While non-surgical treatment can relieve mild cases of the condition, surgery may be necessary if it continues to worsen.
Small Joint Replacement or Fusion
Small joint replacement or fusion is often performed as a result of arthritis. There are three joints in the fingers with varying treatment needs: the DIP joint (distal interphalangeal joint), the PIP joint (proximal interphalangeal joint) and the MP joint (metacarpophalangeal joint).