Arthritis in Hands Questions and Answers
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Hands are prehensile appendages that enable us to grasp, grip and grab. Extending beyond the wrist, they are composed of a palm, fingers and thumb. Within each hand, there are 27 bones, 27 joints, and 34 muscles, including over 100 ligaments and tendons. Any one of these joints can be subjected to wear and tear, which may ultimately lead to arthritis. Because the hands are used so frequently, it is estimated that 4 out of 10 people will experience arthritis in their hands. This staggering statistic reinforces the importance of joint care, and shows how crucial treatment options are for hand arthritis.
How do you know if you have arthritis in your hand?
People often experience arthritis symptoms in their hands before other signs of arthritis show up, and arthritis in the hands affects more women than it does men. Different types of arthritis affect the hands in various ways. For example, psoriatic arthritis, a type of arthritis related to the skin condition psoriasis, is most likely to cause pain in the distal joints, the joints closest to the fingernails. In osteoarthritis, cartilage can wear down in all the joints in the hands, including the fingers and thumb. Symptoms of arthritis in the hands include:
- Pain in some or all the joints
- Growth of bony knobs on finger joints
- Numbness in fingers
- Swollen, red, or warm joints
- Stiffness in fingers, especially in the morning
- Growth of lumps under the skin
- Fingers that look swollen
- Difficulty with motions requiring gripping and twisting
What types of arthritis affect the hands?
Three types of arthritis that can affect the hands include osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Over time, these conditions can make it difficult for a person to grip objects, such as a pen, and carry out daily tasks, such as getting dressed.
How do you identify arthritis in hands?
Arthritis in the hands can be identified by:
- Changes in Surrounding Joints
- Crepitation and Looseness
What causes arthritis in hands to flare-up?
The cause of flare-ups is unique to each type of arthritis, including RA, OA and PsA.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis— In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), flares can vary in intensity, duration and frequency, but if treated promptly, they are usually reversible.
- Osteoarthritis— Since osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disorder and gets worse over time, it may be difficult to differentiate a flare-up from the progression of the condition. Symptoms include increased joint pain, reduced range of motion, swelling and stiffness. Overdoing an activity or trauma to the joint is the most common trigger of an OA flare-up. Other triggers can include cold weather, a change in barometric pressure, repetitive motions, bone spurs, stress, an infection or weight gain.
- Psoriatic Arthritis— Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory disease that affects the skin and joints and also affects nearly 30% of people with psoriasis. Many people with PsA say a psoriasis flare will often lead up to a flare of arthritis symptoms.
Common triggers for psoriasis flares include:
- Injury to the skin
- Certain medications
- Bacterial infections, specifically strep throat
- Alcohol intake
- Weather changes
If you are experiencing arthritis in your hands, come to Modern Pain Management today. At Modern Pain Management, our kind and caring professionals are dedicated to delivering the highest level of service at each and every visit, so you can rest assured in your quality of care. We have two Texas locations to better serve you: one in Houston and one in Sugar Land. Residents in Houston, TX can call us to book an appointment, or they can visit our clinic located at 902 Frostwood Dr #235, Houston, TX 77024. Residents of Sugar Land, TX can call us to book an appointment, or they can visit our clinic at 12930 Dairy Ashford Rd #501-504, Sugar Land, TX 77478. We look forward to serving you!