Causes and Treatments for Arthritis in Fingers
Many people suffer from pain in their fingers and often dismiss them, however, finger pain may be a symptom of an underlying disease. For example, one of the most common causes of pain in the fingers is arthritis.
Arthritis is commonly displayed by inflammation of the joints characterized by swelling, redness, pain and warmth in the affected area. For some, other signs and symptoms may show such as fever, generalized weakness, difficulty sleeping and weight loss. In serious cases, arthritis may lead to the deterioration of the joints causing severe stiffness and joint immobility.
Symptoms and Causes of Arthritis in Fingers
Arthritis is a common condition, affecting approximately twenty million individuals in the United States alone. There are several forms of arthritis, each with its corresponding symptoms but all have significant joint inflammation. However, there are only two common forms of arthritis that typically cause arthritis in fingers.
The first is rheumatoid arthritis. This is an autoimmune joint disorder that is caused by an imbalance in the body’s immune system causing it to attack its own body system. Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the knuckles at the base of the hands or also known as the MCP joints. People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may also manifest intricate deformities in their hands making the rest of the hands look like they’re drifting away from the thumb. Rheumatoid arthritis is also known to manifest systemic symptoms which are attributed to its autoimmune imabalance.
The second to cause arthritis in fingers is osteoarthritis. This is a degenerative bone disease associated with constant wear and tear of the bones. Although more common than rheumatoid arthritis, it is less destructive and can be easier to treat. It typically affects the knuckles and the joints near the fingertips. Osteoarthritis may also extend to lumps around the affected area called Heberden’s nodes (when found on distant knuckles) or Boucharrd’s nodes (when they’re more proximal to the knuckles).
Treatments for Hand Arthritis
Currently, there are no treatments that can completely cure arthritis, however, there are a few palliative treatments to manage the pain and prevent the condition from worsening:
1. Medication - Initially, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are given to relieve pain and swelling thereby allowing joint mobility and ease of movement. When patients become unresponsive to NSAIDs, steroid injections are also given. These are very potent anti-inflammatory drugs and can provide the same relief as NSAIDs. However, care should be observed when medicating with steroids because of the side effects they present in long-term use.
2. Arthritis Gloves – Arthritis gloves, a new advancement in arthritis treatment, are also used to alleviate pain and improve joint mobility especially in working people. The more it is used, the more it helps provide relief for arthritic hands.
3. Exercise - Regularly scheduled exercises can also help delay the progression of arthritis by preventing stiffness of the joints. Nevertheless, the bones should never be overworked as it can only aggravate the condition by causing more damage.
4. Epsom Salt – Dipping the hands in warm water mixed with Epsom salt are also known to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis in fingers.Causes and Treatments for Arthritis in Fingers,
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