Hand Arthritis - Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

hand arthritis

Hand arthritis can make buttoning a shirt, opening a can or holding a pen difficult, along with other every day activities. These challenges often result in a reduced quality of life and increase feelings of anxiety, depression or frustration. However, you could prevent, or at least delay, the severity of this disease if you know the signs and symptoms of arthritis in the hand.

Loose Screws

In your hand are a number of joints, located in the fingers and wrist. Surrounding these joints is muscle, tendons, ligaments and cartilage, any of which can incur damage or deteriorate. Much like nuts and bolts, these biological materials provide the joints in your hand, wrist and fingers, with the strength and stability necessary to move.

If these encasing components become loose, the joint loses its support and movement becomes difficult or, depending on your specific condition, almost impossible. The condition itself is not paralyzing but the pain and damage to the joint, especially if left untreated, could inhibit movement.

Creeping Crepitus

Depending on the way in which your hand arthritis manifested, one of your early symptoms could be crepitation. From years of deterioration, or the occurrence of a sudden injury, crepitus could be the first sign of arthritis that you see or hear.

Due to the deterioration of the diseased joints in your hand, wrist or fingers, your bone could begin to rub against other connecting bones, a condition that leads to the sensation and sound of grinding. This gritty feeling and noise is crepitation, which worsens over time, though the progression is much quicker and the damage more severe if you do not seek medical attention.

Arthritis Hand Cysts

If your hand arthritis is the result of osteoarthritis and you are between the ages of 50 to 70, you could develop a mucous cyst. In most cases, just one cyst develops on the surface around the finger joint closest to the nail bed, though another cyst may grow under the skin closer to the affected joint. These cysts are harmless, may cause pain or denting in the skin near the nail as a result of pressure, and look very much like blisters.

Although unclear as to the exact cause, some medical professionals believe the degenerating tissue releases collagen, which accumulates into one small area and eventually creates the mucous cyst. Unlike a blister, you should not try to pop this with a needle or other sharp object, as you can risk infection or possibly irritate the diseased joint since these cysts often connect to the tissue around the arthritic area.

Typical Hand Arthritis Symptoms

In addition to these less known symptoms associated with hand arthritis, you are most likely to first experience the more typical sensations that come with all forms of arthritis. Pain that is chronic, or long-term, but that does not stay, is one sign you might have arthritis in the joints of the hand, finger or wrist.

Movement, lack of treatment or a minor injury could, like a sprained wrist or jamming your finger in a drawer, could bring on inflammation, if it is not already present simply from the damage of the diseased joint. Lastly, the infected area may also feel warm to the touch, a symptom that most often stems from the inflammation, a defensive and healing process that brings blood to the site of injury.

You do not have to live with the correlating conditions that come with hand arthritis if you stay on top of your health and work with your primary care provider to take preventive measures. If you feel any pain, aching or weakness in your hands, ever sustained an injury to this area or have osteoarthritis, as well as any other form of arthritis, make an appointment with a health professional to keep your symptoms from progressing.

Assistive Arthritis Hand Aids Help You Get a Grip and Hold On

Utensil Hand Clip - if you are in pain or want to avoid inducing a flare up, eating with a clip on utensil is one way to live more comfortably with arthritis.

One Touch Can Opener - This is only one of many products that help individuals carry out daily tasks that would otherwise be painful or impossible.

Zip Grips - With the wide variety of zipper pulls on the market, it is easy to find those that are most suitable for you depending on your level of disability.

Book Holder - eliminates tired arms, kinked necks, and sore hands and allows you to read in ultimate comfort from virtually any location.

General Grabber - a grabber with a locking mechanism allows you to release the trigger without releasing the item.

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