Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, including the hands. Arthritis in the hands can make it difficult to perform daily tasks and significantly impact the quality of life. In this article, we will discuss how to identify and manage arthritis in the hands.
Identifying Arthritis in Hands
The symptoms of arthritis in the hands can vary depending on the type of arthritis. However, there are some common signs and symptoms that may indicate arthritis in the hands:
- Pain: Arthritis in the hands can cause pain, which may be dull or sharp. The pain may be worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
- Stiffness: Arthritis in the hands can cause stiffness, making it difficult to move the fingers or make a fist.
- Swelling: Arthritis in the hands can cause swelling, making the fingers appear puffy or swollen.
- Redness: Arthritis in the hands can cause redness, which may be accompanied by warmth or tenderness.
- Reduced range of motion: Arthritis in the hands can make it difficult to perform daily tasks, such as gripping objects or opening jars.
If you experience any of these symptoms, seeing a doctor for an evaluation is important. A doctor can diagnose arthritis in the hands through a physical exam, medical history, and imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI.
Managing Arthritis in Hands
While there is no cure for arthritis in the hands, several strategies can help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. These strategies include:
- Medications: Several medications are available to relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with arthritis in the hands. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Prescription medications, such as corticosteroids or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), may be recommended for more severe cases of arthritis in the hands.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the hands. A physical therapist can develop an exercise program tailored to your needs and goals.
- Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy can help you learn new ways to perform daily tasks and activities that may be difficult due to arthritis in your hands. An occupational therapist can recommend tools and equipment to make daily tasks easier, such as jar openers or hand braces.
- Splints or braces: Splints or braces can help support the joints in the hands and reduce pain and stiffness. A doctor or occupational therapist can recommend a splint or brace tailored to your needs.
- Surgery: In severe cases of arthritis in the hands, surgery may be recommended. Surgery can help improve function and reduce pain. Common surgeries for arthritis in the hands include joint replacement or joint fusion.
- Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms of arthritis in the hands. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce stress on the joints. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce inflammation. Quitting smoking can also help improve overall health and reduce inflammation.
To Sum Up
In conclusion, arthritis in the hands can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling that can significantly impact daily life. Identifying the symptoms of arthritis in the hands and seeking treatment early can help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment options for arthritis in the hands include medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, splints or braces, surgery, and lifestyle changes. If you suspect that you may have arthritis in your hands, it is important to see a doctor for an evaluation and treatment plan.
Are you looking for arthritis in hands treatment? North Florida Hand and Wrist is committed to providing patients with the absolute best care possible. Get in touch with us.