Arthritis in Finger Joints: Causes, Treatment and Prevention
Pain caused by arthritis can be quite uncomfortable, especially when it affects your finger joints. The symptoms of arthritis in fingers can make normal hand activities like grabbing an object and typing on your computer keyboard, particularly difficult. Hence, it limits your ability to perform simple everyday tasks and leaves a negative impact on your productivity level. The aftereffect of arthritis also depends on which type of arthritis you are suffering from, as it might cause more serious symptoms and increased discomfort.
Thankfully with today’s advanced medicinal abilities, there are many types of treatment for arthritis in finger joints that help alleviate and manage the discomfort many patients are facing with this medical condition.
Before one suffers from arthritis, it is caused by repetitive degenerative activities such as smoking and acute injuries like broken bones and torn ligaments in the hands/fingers. So, what type of arthritis affects finger joints? There are many types of arthritis that can affect the fingers, but the most common three are:
- Gout: This type of arthritis occurs when crystals develop within the joints due to an overload of uric acid in the body. The most targeted area is the big toe, but gout can also develop in finger joints.
- Osteoarthritis: This type of arthritis is also known as the “wear-and-tear” arthritis, as it causes the normal cartilage in the finger joints to wear away. The most targeted areas are the knuckles of the middle finger and fingertip, and the joint at the base of the thumb.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This type of arthritis affects the whole body and causes the body’s immune system to damage the soft tissues surrounding the joints. The most targeted areas are the bones at the base of the fingers, at the palm area.
How to diagnose arthritis in finger joints? At first, you may experience the normal symptoms of a dull aching pain and swelling of your fingers. Subsequently, you might see deformities like bony nodules forming at parts of your fingers. The worst symptom is the loss of function in your fingers, you may not be able to grip and hold a pen. At the early stages of spotting these symptoms and to avoid the worst symptom, getting the right treatment as soon as possible is crucial.
How to reduce arthritis swelling in finger joins? There are Do-It-Yourself methods you can try to use to alleviate the pain before your doctor consultation. You can purchase over the counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the inflammation and affected areas of your fingers. The RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation) may assist in further minimizing the discomfort.
After consulting with your doctor, they can prescribe you proper medication to take and advise you on the treatment options you have to manage this medical condition. Surgery is usually not a cure but is a good modality to treat the pain.
There is no known cure for arthritis, but you can take steps in preventing it by cultivating healthy habits.
- Daily hand exercises can prevent arthritis pain in the hand and fingers, by simply squeezing a stress ball. Squeeze it slowly, hold it for 2-3 seconds, release slowly, and repeat the same action 10 times.
- Use ergonomically designed computer keyboard and mouse to reduce fatigue and discomfort while at your computer for long periods of time.
- Avoid lifting heavy items such as furniture and groceries bags by yourself as it can put strain on your fingers and hand.
With these slightly tweaked daily adjustments, it can save you a lot of trouble and pain from getting arthritis in your fingers. But as soon as you suspect you might have gotten it by spotting the above mentioned symptoms, please seek professional medical advice immediately.
Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic is home to hand specialists and surgeons with over 20 years of experience in managing hand pain and problems. Book a consultation appointment with our orthopaedic specialists to receive the right diagnosis and treatment for your medical condition.
Seek professional consultation as soon as possible, because some finger joint arthritis is better treated early to prevent long term deformity.