Finger arthritis – Don’t let your hands die!
Finger arthritis is more common than you think. After all, there are 27
bones in each one of your hands and where there are bones, there are
Where there are joints, there will be cartilage. When the cartilage
wears away, there is inflammation accompanied by pain. This is when
Finger arthritis is a serious source of discomfort for many
people because we are highly dependent on our fingers for our daily
Causes of finger arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis – Also called wear-and-tear arthritis, this
is a condition that develops with age. In this condition, the cartilage
wears away, making bones rub against each other.
The knuckles of the middle finger, the joints at the fingertip
and the joints located at the base of the thumbs are most vulnerable to
arthritis caused by age.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: In this kind of
arthritis, the soft tissue around the joints wears away. The knuckles
and the joints at the base of the finger are most affected.
- Psoriatic arthritis: This is a relatively
rare condition. The joints close to the nails are affected. This
condition changes the way the nail appears.
For instance, it leads to yellowing, ridging, thickening and
pitting in the nails. This form of arthritis is mostly seen in men.
- Injury: A previous injury in the fingers,
like a sprain or a fracture, could alter the alignment of the joints.
This in turn affects the way in which the joints move.
In the long term, such misalignment and irregularities damage
the cartilage and lead to inflammation and pain. Even repetitive
activities like text messaging, typing, knitting, sewing and playing
video games lead to injury, which ultimately become arthritic.
Treatments for finger arthritis:
In the beginning stages, treatment methods aim to reduce pain and
inflammation, so as to help patients manage their condition effectively.
This may be accomplished through:
- NSAIDs: These are anti-inflammatory medications that reduce pain and inflammation.
- Hand therapy: Helps patients maintain motion in their hands and prevent stiffening of joints.
- Heat and cold treatments: These treatments relieve pain and increase flexibility as well as mobility.
- Splints: In some cases, patients are
advised to wear splints to rest the affected joints. This treatment must
be carried out for short periods only and offer only limited relief.
- If none of the above treatments is successful in relieving pain caused by finger arthritis, surgery may be needed. Surgery is aimed at removing bone spurs and fusing or replacing joints.
Interestingly, a new study that was reported in the Annals of
Rheumatic Diseases (February, 2003) suggests that men who suffered from
osteoarthritis in a single finger joint had a high likelihood of dying
from some form of cardiovascular disease.
However, men who suffered from symmetrical finger arthritis were
not exposed to this risk. In women, the risk was significantly lesser.
The reason for this link between arthritis and cardiovascular
disease was not clear. So, if you suffer from this condition, this is
one more reason to visit a doctor immediately!
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