Management of rheumatoid arthritis of the fingers
Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints along with pain and stiffness which becomes worse with age. There are two common types of arthritis – osteoarthritis and the rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis of the hand, wrist and fingers makes simple tasks such as opening a jar or turning a door painful. Those who have arthritis in the fingers can experience inflamed knuckles that feel hot, swollen finger joints and presence of small cysts on the end of the joints of the fingers. You can ease the symptoms of this condition by enrolling in a first aid class today.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis of the fingers
- There is hand and finger pain along with swelling and stiffness.
- The joints of the hand and fingers are tender and warm to the touch.
- Development of carpal tunnel syndrome where there is numbness and tingling sensation in the hands
- The same joints are affected symmetrically or both wrists and fingers on both the hands.
- The finger joints are deformed
- Flu-like symptoms
- Fatigue that is not easily minimized
- Stiffness and pain that lasts for than an hour upon waking up.
Causes of rheumatoid arthritis of the fingers
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Genetic factors
- Rheumatoid arthritis tends to improve with pregnancy, but breastfeeding and the postpartum period can make the condition worse.
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause a swan-neck deformity where the base of the finger and outermost joint bend while the middle finger is straight. This imbalance of the joints of the finger can result in a crooked swan-neck position, but swan-neck deformity does not happen in the thumb. Swan-neck deformity can be treated by placing finger splints or ring splints or surgery in order to align the joints.
Treatment and home remedies
- Regular exercise of the hands and fingers by using a soft foam ball to increase the dexterity and minimize stiffness.
- In order to avoid injury, use the largest joints in the fingers when engaging any activities.
- Soak the fingers in warm water in order to minimize stiffness and swelling of the joints. Apply alternately hot and cold packs since it can provide comfort to the individual.
- Apply salves and lotions that contain pain medications for sore joints and the individual should put on gloves in order to keep fingers warm.
- Before starting an exercise routine, put warm and moist compress on the fingers and hands for 15 minutes. The moist heat works by dilating the blood vessels and increases the flow of oxygen, blood and nutrients to the affected area.
- Place an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables for 10-15 minutes in order to minimize swelling and pain by constricting the blood vessels.
With the help of these measures, you can help ease the pain and swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis. If the symptoms persist, it is best to consult a doctor for further treatment.