Osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist
Summary of Osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition occurring in the joints, generally prevalent in the older generations. In the hand this can affect gripping and every day activities.
Osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist FAQ's
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition caused by wear and tear and old age, which can affect any joint in the body. Within the hand, this condition tends to affect three key areas: the joint at the base of the thumb, joints in the middle of the fingers, and those at the tips of the fingers.
Stiffness, swelling, pain, limited movement and aching in the joints are the most common symptoms. With a condition affecting the hand, it can become difficult to grip or pick up objects, with motor control and every day physical functions being affected. Those suffering with osteoarthritis tend to find that the stiffness is worst first thing in the morning, and that increment weather can also affect the symptoms for the worse. Osteoarthritis can be recognised by a consultant through an x-ray, with blood tests proving ineffective unless to rule out different forms of arthritis. Enlarged hands and swollen joints may also be obvious among sufferers.
This condition is a degenerative disease of the joints, with the cartilage at the end of bones around the joint gradually deteriorating. Injury or general wear and tear can bring osteoarthritis forward, hastening the breakdown of the cartilage.
There are four different means of treating osteoarthritis: exercise, adaptations, diet and food supplements, and medication. Exercise is important to keep the joints loose, with tailored movements intended to strengthen the joints and reduce the pain. Adaptations to your lifestyle may help you to tackle difficult tasks that have become a struggle through the disease. Your consultant may recommend specific adaptive devices that are designed to improve your every day abilities, such as tailored cutlery, taps, and writing equipment. There are some dietary considerations that can improve the symptoms, for example omega 3 is meant to help the joints. Some supplements are also reported to provide relief to those with osteoarthritis, such as Glucosamine Sulphate. Anti-inflammatory medication may well be prescribed to deal with the swelling and pain that comes with it.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition and thus is irreversible. Early intervention is key to preventing further breakdown and decline, by kickstarting the treatment early and managing the condition.
The exercises prescribed are one of the key elements of your management of the condition, both in terms of managing the pain and further degeneration. Exercises that increase the joint mobility will decrease pain and stiffness and increase muscle strength.