Florida Hand Doctor Discusses Arthritis of the Hand
There are many bones, muscles and ligaments in your hands, and they all work together to perform a very wide range of motion, from grasping large objects to threading a needle. Arthritis of the hands can make these tasks difficult, as pain and stiffness prevent you from moving your fingers, thumb and wrists freely. Left untreated, arthritis can actually change the shape of the bones in your hand and wrist, causing even more pain and limited mobility. Fortunately, our Florida hand doctor has the training, experience, and advanced tools to detect, diagnose and treat arthritis of the hand.
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common types.
Smooth, slippery cartilage covers the ends of your bones, and the slick surface of cartilage allows your bones to glide smoothly against one another when you move your hand. An oil-like substance, known as synovial fluid, lubricates your cartilage to keep it smooth and slippery. Disease and trauma can affect the cartilage in ways that cause the pain and stiffness of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is most common and usually affects older people. Also known as “wear and tear arthritis,” osteoarthritis causes the cartilage to wear down, or degenerate, with time. Rheumatoid arthritis causes swelling in the lining of the joint, known as the synovium, which produces the synovial fluid that lubricates joints. Swelling of the synovium causes pain and stiffness.
Trauma, such as broken bones and dislocations, can lead to arthritis. Even with prompt and proper treatment, an injured joint is more likely to develop arthritis later in life.
Symptoms of arthritis include dull or burning pain, particularly while using the affected joint. Other symptoms may include swelling, changes to surrounding joints, warmth, a grinding sensation or even looseness. In advanced cases, the joint may appear quite large.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Arthritis of the Hand from a Florida Hand Doctor
Diagnosis and treatment for arthritis of the hand begins with a comprehensive evaluation from your Florida hand doctor. The evaluation includes an examination of your hand, a careful review of your health history, and a discussion of your symptoms. Our Florida hand doctor may recommend x-rays and other tests to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms.
Treatment for hand arthritis may include medications to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Other medications can reduce damage to your bones or cartilage. Injections into the joints can alleviate symptoms, as can using a brace to immobilize and rest the joint. Surgery may be necessary to repair damage or deformity associated with arthritis.
For more information about arthritis of the hand, make an appointment with our Florida hand doctor.