Many people suffer from arthritis in their hands. This can be managed with medication, exercises and the right lifestyle support. This article will discuss all of these so you'll know what to do as soon as you see signs of arthritis in your joints.
Identify Arthritis in your hands
Arthritis in the hands is a term used to describe any disorder that affects the joints. A joint is a point where two bones meet and each joint is designed with a lubricant that's known as synovial fluid. Joints also have cartilage that work like a cushion and prevent the bones from rubbing on each other. There are different types of arthritis in the hands but all of them result in feelings of discomfort and can affect your ability to perform your regular tasks, if you don't seek some kind of treatment.
Types of Arthritis in the Hands
There are over 100 types of arthritis but only five affect the hands. These are osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and post-traumatic arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis tends to affect older people because it results from wear and tear on the joints.
- Psoriatic arthritis may develop years after people first have inflammation of the skin that's associated with psoriasis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis takes place when the immune system attacks the joints of the hands.
- Post-traumatic arthritis is usually the result of a physical injury.
- Gout occurs when crystals of uric acid are deposited in a joint. These crystals are like needles and they cause sudden inflammation in the joint.
Early Signs of Arthritis
People may suspect they have arthritis in their hands if their joints feel stiff in the mornings. Some individuals may also notice stiffness in the evenings or at other times of day. The joints may ache or be swollen, making it difficult to open bottles or perform tasks involving complex movements.
The skin on the patient's hands may be red at certain points. These areas are the points in which the joints are inflamed and patients may want to avoid touching these points too much due to it might cause pain. Initially only one joint may be affected. As time goes by, a person can start to feel pain in other joints as well.
Finger Exercises for Arthritis Pain
Finger exercises improve your strength, flexibility and range of motion. You can usually get tips from your physiotherapist on the types of exercises that you should do at home and how often you should do these to experience the maximum benefits.
By exercising your hands regularly, you'll keep the ligaments and tendons flexible and help to reduce pain. The exercises are easy to do and you can start off slowly and progress gradually as your hands regain flexibility and strength.
Practice closing your fist and gradually opening to fully straighten your fingers. Do that several times a day. You can also work on one finger at time, slowly bend one and then straighten it.
Also try to do finger lifts daily to strengthen each finger. Rest your hand on a flat surface and slowly lift each finger to the highest point that it can go to. Hold it there for three seconds and then lower it to the surface.
Other Treatments for Arthritis in the Hands
There's no permanent cure for any type of hand arthritis but there are several things that you can do to prevent your joints from deteriorating and alleviate pain. Occasionally, a doctor may recommend surgery to correct a damaged finger joint but it’s not common.
Home remedies such as cold therapy help people who are suffering from arthritis. Apply an ice pack to your hands to help ease pain. You can apply ginger poultice in your hands. You can soak your hands in a solution made with Epsom salts after a long day.