The Arthritis Foundation reports that as many as one in five people over 18 years of age suffer from arthritis in at least one of their joints. Whether due to joint inflammation or wearing down of your cartilage over time, arthritis evolves when your cartilage that normally provides shock absorption and cushioning is unable to function as it’s supposed to.
When you develop arthritis in your hands, it can cause a number of symptoms including:
Painful hands. Pain in your hands is often the first sign of arthritis. The pain you experience can be either a burning sensation or a dull, achy feeling. This pain may make it difficult for you to open jars, gardening, or other everyday tasks.
Some people report feeling more hand soreness first thing when they wake others. Other say their pain is worse when the humidity level changes or it rains. You might find that your pain dissipates somewhat after resting the affected joints.
Joint swelling. Along with pain, your joints may swell. This occurs because of the increased fluid in your joint, called synovial fluid. While synovial fluid is normal and it helps to cushion normal joints, when you have arthritis you can have too much of this fluid. You may find that your swollen joints in your hands restrict your movement.
Joint stiffness. Joint and finger stiffness may make it difficult for you to move your hands and fingers as you could before developing arthritis. Certain activities, like tying your shoes, buttoning your shirt, and using doorknobs may be more difficult for you.
People with arthritis or suspected that they have arthritis should report their symptoms to their Florida Hand Center doctor. It’s a good idea to keep a diary or journal where you capture your symptoms on a daily basis and according to the activities you do. Record what activities make your symptoms worse, and others that seem to cause you less or no pain. Also, share with your doctor activities that are very painful for you to perform, whether that is holding a fork to eat or grasping a pen to write.
Remember, the joints in your hands and fingers are small, and help you to perform many activities. However, when they are inflamed, stiff, swollen, or they cause you pain, it can make it difficult for you to function normally. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to you from the Florida Hand Center. These include medications, injections, splinting and surgery.
If you have arthritis or suspect that you do, contact us at Florida Hand Center. We have locations in Port Charlotte and Fort Myers. 941-625-6547. For new patient appointments, call 941-625-3782.