Arthritis Of The Hand

January 3rd, 2020 Becki Andrus

Your hand contains a collection of bones, ligaments, and muscles, and there are also multiple joints in your hand. These joints are created whenever several bones meet., while your ligaments are responsible for linking the bones, then providing them with support.  

The area where bones are joined also contains cartilage, which is the connective tissue that is responsible for connecting your bones. Cartilage is critical in order for you to maintain flexibility in your movements. All of these components allow the joints of your hand to function together in order for you to make motions that are required in our daily activities.

While this process is both expected and accepted as part of our daily existence, any interruption in what is usually a normal process of hand movement will be impactful. This will occur if you experience a condition that creates obstacles in the process of hand movement, and arthritis in the hand is one of these conditions.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15 million adults reported severe joint pain due to arthritis in 2015.
This includes arthritis of the hand, which impacts around 50% of all women, and about 25% of all men before they reach the age of 85. There are several reasons why this can occur, along with multiple scenarios that will result when it does emerge.


There are several forms of arthritis, and they each involve a reduction in cartilage. Unfortunately, we encounter this decrease in cartilage as we progress through the aging process. When this occurs, the gradual loss of cartilage eliminates tissue that had been safeguarding the bones as they make contact with other bones. As bones begin the process of rubbing together without the protection of cartilage, it will create pain. In some situations, bone spurs will also develop, which can result in stiffness that accompanies the discomfort.

Some individuals will experience osteoarthritis. This occurs with the greatest frequency and results from the wear and tear that takes place as we progress through the aging process.

Other patients will contend with rheumatoid arthritis, This is a long-term inflammation that affects the lining of your joints., and this condition can develop regardless of your age. Whenever it does emerge, it impacts your joints of the hand by causing stiffness and swelling.

In addition to the aging process, genetics will play a role in determining whether you develop arthritis. It is also critical for you to maintain a healthy weight, as obesity can increase the risk of encountering arthritis in your hand. In some cases, this condition will also emerge in the aftermath of an injury. This would most likely involve a fracture or dislocation.


If you are experiencing a burning sensation in your hand, or if you are unable to grip objects as you normally would, then these are indications that arthritis of the hand might be present. In some situations, swelling can also occur. You might also feel warmth in your joint, which occurs as the result of inflammation.

Some individuals will also notice redness in addition to the swelling that might emerge. This will provide a further indication of an inflammation. Some patients will also observe a physical change in the appearance of the hand. This can include an alteration in shape that can cause the joint to become larger.


When you visit a physician, he or she will ask a series of questions in order to determine the specifics of your situation. This will include your medical history, your family’s medical history, and the exact symptoms that you are experiencing

He or she will also discuss any other medical issues that might be the source of your discomfort. It is also possible that your doctor will order x-rays in order to verify the correct diagnosis.

Once the diagnosis has been determined, your physician may recommend ice or heat, with the goal of reducing the swelling and discomfort. Heat could also be helpful in relaxing your joint.

In some cases, your doctor could determine that medication will be beneficial. While it will not be possible to replace cartilage that has been lost, medications such as anti-inflammatories will keep your body from generating chemicals that produce swelling and pain.

In other cases, it might be suggested that you wear a splint. This will decrease the stress that occurs in your hand when making movements. In some situations, surgery will be recommended. The exact type of surgery and the factors involved will depend upon your situation.

At Orthopedic Associates, We Can Help

If you have any questions or concerns about the possibility that you are experiencing arthritis in your hand, or if you need to talk with an experienced hand doctor about any other issue, the specialists at Orthopedic Associates understand how pain in your hand or wrist can affect your daily activities.

We also know that each hand and wrist injury must be approached with the utmost care, regardless of what type of injury you have suffered. At Orthopedic Associates, we are also dedicated to making sure that you recover fully so that you can return to depending on your hand and wrist as you did previously.

Hand doctor Kent F. Dickson, M.D is committed to providing effective, compassionate, and timely care. His expertise in educating our patients on how they can avoid future problems is also beneficial.

Here is the list of hand and wrist problems that we can help you with at Orthopedic Associates:

  • Animal Bites to the Hand
  • Basal Joint Osteoarthritis
  • Boutonniere Deformity
  • Boxer’s Fracture
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Colles Fractures
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
  • Digital Mucous Cysts
  • Distal Radius Fracture (Broken Wrist)
  • Dupuytren’s Disease
  • Finger Dislocation/Felon
  • Fingertip Injuries
  • Flexor Tendon Injuries
  • Fractures of the Finger/Hand (Metacarpal Fractures)
  • Ganglion Cysts of the Hand
  • Kienbock’s Disease
  • Mallet Finger
  • Nerve Injuries of the Hand
  • Osteoarthritis of the Hand
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Paronychia
  • Polydactyly of the Hand
  • Raynaud’s Phenomenon and Disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) of the Hand
  • Scaphoid Fractures
  • Swan Neck Deformity
  • Syndactyly of the Hand
  • Thumb Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury
  • Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) Tears
  • Trigger Digit
  • Volar Plate Injuries
  • Wrist Sprain

Our orthopedic experts are also highly experienced in performing many different treatments and surgeries for the hand & wrist:

  • Absorbable Antibiotic Bead Treatment for Osteomyelitis
  • Anesthesia
  • Anesthesia (Regional)
  • Artificial Joint Replacement of the Finger
  • Basal Joint Surgery
  • Biologics Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Release (Open Technique)
  • Cold Laser Therapy
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
  • De Quervain’s Release
  • Digital Mucous Cyst Excision
  • Digital Nerve Repair
  • Distal Radius Fracture Repair with Volar Plate
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release
  • Finger Felon Drainage
  • Finger Fracture Fixation
  • Finger Joint Fusion (DIP Joint)
  • Ganglion Cyst Removal
  • Joint Synovectomy
  • Limited Palmar Fasciectomy for Dupuytren’s Contracture
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Multimodal Anesthesia and Pain Control
  • Needle Aponeurotomy for Dupuytren’s Contracture
  • Nerve Conduction Study (NCS)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
  • Scaphoid Fracture Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF)
  • Tendon Repair
  • Trigger Digit Release
  • Wrist Arthroscopy
  • Wrist Fusion (Total Wrist Arthrodesis)

If you are experiencing a problem with your hand or wrist, we encourage you to visit one of Orthopedic Associates two locations or request an appointment today. We will help guide you down the path of feeling better.

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