Hand Conditions Part 1: Can Arthritis in the Hands Be Treated?

Learn more about hand arthritis and treatment options.

Naveen Setty, MD, recently spoke to H2U participants at Medical Center of McKinney about a number of hand conditions and their treatment options. Today's post is the first in a series that shares information from the seminar about hand pain, hand conditions and how they may be treated. 

Arthritis in the Hands
Osteoarthritis, a joint condition due to overuse and extreme wear and tear, is not necessarily a result of aging. In fact, arthritis can result from injury or excessively lax joints. Osteoarthritis is more common in women due to the fact that their joints tend to be more lax than men's. It is important to note that cartilage is hard to heal, and it is very difficult to repair once there is significant wear down. There is no known cure for arthritis.

Symptoms of arthritis in the hands include: joint pain, stiffness, decreased strength, loss of motion and hand deformity. Bone spurs often result from arthritis due to increased bone friction in joint areas without cartilage. 

Treatment for Arthritis in the Hands
Dr. Setty always suggests trying non-invasive treatment options for hand arthritis first. There are a number of aids and splints that can take the pressure off joints and reduce pain. Rest can help, and there are physical therapy options to stretch joints and improve motion. Talk to your physician about pain management. Anti-inflammatory options help reduce swelling in the joint area. Steroid injections may be an option in certain cases but not a permanent solution. 

Surgery for hand arthritis is always a last resort. Joint replacement is not typically done on hand joints because it is hard to make effective prosthetics at that size. Dr. Setty explained that surgery at the base of the thumb is most effective. Some reconstruction is possible and can include taking a bone out or fusing the bone. While there may be loss of motion, patients are willing to forgo some motion in place of chronic pain.

Medical Center of McKinney has been routinely recognized by the Joint Commission for its expertise in joint care and replacements. Visit us online to learn more or call 1-855-296-6365 for a physician referral.

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