Arthritis in the Hands

Arthritis in the Hands

While the most common forms of arthritis attacks older individuals, no one is immune from the disease. Different types of arthritis can strike the small joints in your hands and wrists. The disease causes pain and stiffness. To ease your pain and reduce the stiffness, visit the experts at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, NY. The earlier your doctor is able to diagnose arthritis, the better your chances are to control the disease. Don’t wait; schedule a check-up today.

When you have arthritis in the hands, simple movements like lifting a cup of coffee become difficult and painful. Arthritis attacks the joints in your fingers, thumb and even your wrist. There are more than a hundred types of arthritis. Each requires a different treatment.

Almost 78 million Americans are projected to suffer from arthritis by 2040. Your best chance for successful treatment is through early diagnosis. Left untreated, arthritis in your hands causes painful deformities.

Getting timely treatment by a specialist not only eases your current pain, but also prevents more severe problems in the future. The Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center is a multi-specialty care facility in Queens, NY that has its own orthopedic department with an expert staff to serve you.

Different Types of Hand Arthritis

While there are many forms of arthritis, the types that strike your hands all have different causes. Your Medex doctor reviews your medical history and performs a physical exam to accurately diagnose which type is affecting you. The more common forms of hand arthritis include:

• Osteoarthritis. The most common type of arthritis, it’s often referred to as a disease of wear-and-tear. The cartilage in your hand bones degrades from use over time.

• Rheumatoid arthritis. This chronic inflammatory disease occurs when your body’s own immune system attacks the lining of the joints in your hands.

• Gout. Resulting from a buildup of uric acid in your blood, gout usually affects the feet first. It eventually moves to the hands and other joints in your body.

• Psoriatic arthritis. This form of arthritis affects the bones and skin. Your fingers tend to swell, and the nails degrade.

• Lupus. An autoimmune disease that attacks healthy tissues, lupus often strikes the small joints in your hands.

Preventing Arthritis

Having a family history of certain types of arthritis makes you more susceptible to the disease. But you don’t need to panic. Prevention plans and therapies reduce the pain and slow the progression of arthritis in your hands.

The first step is proper diagnosis at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center. Your orthopedic specialist develops a plan that may include:

  • Stretching the joints in your hands to increase the range of motion
  • Quitting cigarette smoking
  • Going on a diet if you are overweight
  • Meditating to reduce stress and anxiety in your life

Moderate exercise may reduce stiffness and pain by improving circulation. For best results, maintain your exercise regimen for a minimum of six to eight weeks. Your arthritic pain decreases while your joints become more limber.

Do You Have Arthritis?

It’s common to wake up in the morning with stiffness in your hands. If your stiffness lasts more than 30 minutes, however, it may be a sign of arthritis. If you’re female, be especially vigilant. Women suffer disproportionately from the disease. Other indicators of arthritis include:

  • Chronic or intermittent pain in your hands
  • Warmth and redness around the joints
  • Joint swelling that lasts more than three days
  • Frequent inflammation of the finger joints
  • Difficulty moving your fingers or thumb
  • Clicking or cracking sound during movement
  • Muscle weakness around the joints

Some forms of arthritis result from old age. Previous joint injuries can eventually become arthritic. Obesity is especially troublesome. Besides increasing your blood pressure, it leads to heart disease, and diabetes. Extra weight also stresses your joints.

Treatments for Arthritis in Hands

Several treatment options are available, depending on the type of arthritis that’s affecting your hands. Your doctor at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center may first suggest that you try heating pads and ice packs for the pain and inflammation. Massage for your hand joints may also be effective.

Over-the-counter painkillers are useful for temporary pain management. When swelling and pain appear in tandem, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs treat both. Your doctor may also prescribe:

• Counterirritants. These cream contain menthol, camphor or eucalyptus that interferes with the pain relay signals to the brain.

• DMARDs. Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs are generally reserved for rheumatoid arthritis patients. They treat the disease itself rather than the symptoms.

• Biologic response modifiers. These genetically engineered drugs target specific molecules.

• Cortisone injections. Your doctor may inject painful joints with corticosteroids to provide targeted pain and inflammation reduction. The effect may last for weeks or months.

Advanced Treatments for Severe Cases

If your hand arthritis has reached an advanced stage, surgery may be the best solution. Procedures involve joint repair, joint replacement or joint fusion, depending on your needs. Your doctor may also suggest undergoing arthroscopic surgery to preserve the damaged joint.

The sooner your hand arthritis is diagnosed, the better chance your doctor has to prevent it from deteriorating further. Contact the experts at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, NY to schedule your initial consultation.

Stay In Touch Write Us