Arthritis Can Affect Your Hands Too.

Joints are everywhere in the body, helping limbs and body parts move. Most joints are covered with cartilage to prevent excess damage and shock. Over time, the cushioning can wear away, causing inflammation and pain. More than 54 million men and women know this issue to be arthritis. Almost any joint can get arthritis, and the hands are no exception. Arthritis can cause hand pain and stiffness, especially with repetitive tasks. If left untreated, arthritis hand pain can cause weakness, limiting grip strength.

Non-surgical means can help

Hands are a critical part of everyday activities. So at the first sign of arthritis, see a doctor immediately. Doctors often recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. Additional medication like steroid injections can bring long-term relief. Along with medication, physical therapy and exercises can help with relief. Additionally, these 3 exercises can help decrease arthritis pain.

1. Try some simple finger lifts

Place the painful hand flat on a desk or smooth surface. Spread the fingers slightly apart. Slowly raise each finger one at a time. Hold the finger for a few seconds before resting the finger back down. Repeat for each hand or as many times as needed.

2. Fists for flexibility

This simple but effective exercise can keep the joints healthy and flexible. Start by holding the hand and fingers straight ahead. Slowly flex the fingers to make a fist with the thumb on the outside of the hand. Hold the fist for a few seconds, then slowly release. Next, curve the fingers to make an O. Hold this position for a few seconds, then release. Alternate between the fist and O a few times each day.

3. Try a wrist stretch

Stretching the wrist can also bring relief to the hands and fingers. Ligaments that are connected to the fingers pass through the wrist. These ligaments can also get inflamed, and the wrist can also become sore from overuse. To complete the exercise, hold the affected arm straight ahead. Use the other hand to press down on the top of the painful hand gently. Hold the position for 10-20 seconds. Alternate the exercise by pressing on the palm, making the hand point upward instead.

Turning to surgery

Exercises like these, medication, and physical therapy are great for pain relief and improved function. But these techniques won’t work for everyone. In rare cases, some persons will only get relief from surgery. Some patients may need arthrodesis. Arthrodesis is a fusion of the affected joint into one solid bone. Others may benefit from arthroplasty. Arthroplasty involves replacing the damaged joint with an artificial implant and usually happens at the knuckles. There are cases where fusion and replacement happen on different fingers of the same hand.

Get a handle on arthritis hand pain

Almost anyone can develop arthritis hand pain from repetitive actions or wear and tear. Simple exercises can help with strength and flexibility. Try the exercises mentioned, along with different non-surgical techniques, first. If these fail, surgery may help. The doctor may decide on arthrodesis or a joint replacement in arthroplasty. Both are minimally invasive and depend on factors like age and activity level.