Do you have pain in your hands typing on the keyboard at work?
Do you have pain in your hand or wrist when opening and closing jars?
Do you feel you have less strength in your hands when performing everyday manual tasks?
Hand and wrist arthritis may be the cause of your problem.
What is arthritis?? I hear you ask…
Arthritis is a very common degenerative condition that can form in the joints of your body as you get older.
It causes wearing away of the cartilage in the joint, which is the shock absorbing material between the bones. This can result in inflammation of the synovial lining in the joint. This is significant as this lining is responsible for producing synovial fluid, which helps protect and lubricate the joint.
What are the common signs and symptoms of hand and wrist arthritis?
If you have arthritis in the wrist and hands you may experience some of the following signs and symptoms:
- Loss of movement in the joints of the wrist and hand.
- You might notice grinding or cracking noises with joint movement.
- Pain in the joint may come and go. It can become worse with gripping objects or repetitive wrist and finger movement. As the arthritis progresses it may develop into a constant ache, even at rest.
- The joints may swell and can become tender to touch.
- The joints may appear to be misshaped or deformed.
How can we solve the problem?
Mild symptoms associated with arthritis can be treated effectively by oral anti-inflammatories and physiotherapy. Physiotherapy would involve soft tissue massage to relieve muscle tightness around arthritic joints. Specific exercises can be prescribed for the joints to help improve and maintain range of motion and strength. Additionally, a physiotherapist could provide a splint or support to help protect the joints whilst performing everyday tasks.
In more severe cases of wrist and hand cortisone injections or surgery may be indicated. Surgery is considered when conservative management, no longer eases the pain, or when deformity prevents normal use of the hand. Surgery is also recommended in some patients with inflammatory arthritis. In these patients, the surgery stabilizes joints and prevents tendon damage. Deformity, loss of motion and pain that is not adequately controlled are the main reasons for surgery.