Arthritis in Our Hands

Arthritis is a common hand condition that can affect anyone and usually at any age . Learn about the different types of hand arthritis below.

MP Joint Arthritis This type of arthritis is a result of loss of cartilage at a joint, which can result from regular wear and tear, an injury, or a medical condition. With MP Joint Arthritis, a common symptom is a shift in the fingers toward the pinky side. Other symptoms include pain, loss of motion, swelling and swollen-looking joints.

Hand bone re called metacarpals. The finger bones are called phalanges. The metacarpophalangeal joint (MCP joint), or knuckle, is where the finger bones meet the hand bones. At the MCP joint, the fingers can move in multiple directions. They can bend, straighten, spread apart and move together. MCP joints are important for both pinching and gripping.

MCP joint arthritis is most common in the thumb and index fingers due to the stress of pinching. The different joints of the hand are shown in Figure 1.

Arthritis means joint inflammation and is a word that is often used to describe pain or a problem at a joint. Arthritis occurs when there is a loss of cartilage. Cartilage is the layer of tissue on the end of a bone.

Osteoarthritis This arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that also involves loss of cartilage at the joints. It may cause bony nodules at the middle joint of the finger or at the end of the finger, as well as swelling, aching and bumps. It may be more difficult to open a jar or turn a key.   Along with cartilage loss, OA also causes bone spurs to form. Bone spurs in and around the joints increase your stiffness and pain. With worsening OA, daily activities can become difficult and your finger joints may lose their normal shape.

PsA aka Psoriatic Arthritis: Psoriasis is a skin disease in which patients have dry, red and scaly skin rashes on the body.  Some patients may develop psoriatic arthritis as a result. Symptoms may include swollen fingers, fingernail deformities, deformity at the end of the finger, and skin rashes

RA aka Rheumatoid Arthritis: This condition is most common in the wrist and knuckles and typically occurs in both hands. Symptoms may include a soft lump on the back of the hand, a bent middle finger, firm nodules along the fingers or elbow, and the inability to straighten or bend a finger. You may feel numbness or tingling in your hand due to the swelling of the tendons.     The inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can also cause swelling. Swelling stretches the tissue that holds bones together, called ligaments. When ligaments stretch, they become loose and cause the joints to be unstable. Inflammation also affects tendons, which are the rope-like structures linking muscles to bones. When tendons become inflamed, they can stretch out or break. This can result in sudden finger motion loss.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects the whole body. Therefore, patients with rheumatoid arthritis complain of pain in multiple joints. Patients usually have pain in their joints on both sides of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis usually involves the wrist and joints of the fingers

Thumb Arthritis: This type of arthritis often but not always comes with age. You may feel pain and weakness with pinching and grasping. Opening jars, turning doorknobs or keys, and writing are often painful activities.

Thumb arthritis is also known as basal joint arthritis. It is more common in women, though certainly men can develop this type of problem. Typically, degenerative arthritis of the thumb occurs sometime after 40 years of age. There is a genetic predisposition in developing this arthritis condition. Additionally, any type of trauma to the thumb can predispose one to thumb arthritis. There are other conditions such as inflammatory arthritis

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