Arthritis in the hands is the common type of arthritis. It is caused by the breakdown of the cartilage that functions in supporting the structure of the bone. The hand and the wrist are composed of small joints working together to make a movement. When the joints are affected by arthritis, regular activities become difficult. Inadequate treatment of this condition result to deformities of the affected area.
- Numbness of the fingers
- Pain in the joints of fingers, wrist and thumbs
- Growth of bony knobs on the joints of the finger
- Swelling, red and warm joints
- Stiffness of the fingers especially in the morning in people with rheumatoid arthritis
- The fingers look like “swollen sausages” due to psoriatic arthritis.
- Growth of lumps, or nodules under the skin due to rheumatoid arthritis
- Movement difficulties that require twisting and gripping such as opening of jars
- Formation of cysts at the end joints of the fingers.
Treatment of hand arthritis
- Apply ice pack on the affected hands and fingers to lessen the irritation and the soreness. Wrap ice pack in a towel before placing to the area for at least 20 minutes to prevent further irritations. Another alternative is using crushed ice and bag of frozen vegetables such as corn or peas is good for the condition.
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to lessen the pain and the swelling.
- Alternating hot and cold treatment for the affected area. Prepare two basins. Fill one basin with cold water and a few ice cubes; fill the other basin with hot water as hot that can be tolerated. Immerse the area in cold water for at least a minute and then switch the area to hot water for at least 15 minutes, submerge the joint in each for at least 30 seconds and end with cold water for a few minutes.
- Fill a small container with warm water and add 2 cups of Epsom salt. Stir until salt is totally dissolved and then soak the hands in the solution for at least 20-30 minutes, 3 times every week for several weeks to lessen the inflammation, the stiffness and the pain caused by arthritis.
- Massage the hands using warm olive oil to lessen the discomforts and the inflammation. Another alternative is using olive oil in cooking food to lessen the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
- Prescribed injection of steroid to lessen the pain and the inflammations.
- Prescribed splint to support the affected joints and lessen the stress placed on the area caused by frequent use and activities. Splints are usually worn during periods when the joints cause pain.
- Perform exercises for the hand with the help of the physical therapist to strengthen the area and restore range of movement of the hand.