Finger and wrist arthritis affect every aspect of your life, from your ability to do your job to the time you spend on hobbies. At TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute and Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, our goal is to get you back to doing the activities you love. We take the time to get to know our patients so that we can provide unique care plans that are customized to your needs.
Finger and Wrist Arthritis
Finger and wrist arthritis can take several forms. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative condition caused by prolonged wear and tear on the joints of the hand. As the protective cartilage between joints wears away, it becomes difficult to move your fingers and wrist without pain or stiffness.
Finger and wrist arthritis causes
Arthritis in the fingers and wrist is usually caused by degeneration that develops over time, leading to worn cartilage between the joints and decreased levels of joint lubrication (synovial fluid). Causes include:
- Overuse of the joints
- Past traumatic injury to the fingers or wrists
- Wear and tear due to aging
- Autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis
Finger and wrist arthritis symptoms
Finger and wrist arthritis can produce a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms can include:
- Bone spurs around finger joints
- Finger and wrist stiffness first thing in the morning
- Fluid-filled cysts around the joints
- Joint weakness that can make it difficult to lift or grip objects
- Loss of mobility in the fingers and wrist
- Pain or tenderness in the fingers and wrist after activity
- Redness or swelling in the fingers and wrist
Finger and wrist arthritis treatment
Some of the most common treatments for finger and wrist arthritis include:
- Bracing—Supportive braces can help limit movement that triggers joint pain and provide stability in the fingers and wrist.
- Medication—Pain relievers (analgesics) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can provide relief for the swelling and joint pain associated with finger and wrist arthritis.
- Pain relief injections—Corticosteroid injections can help relieve joint pain for prolonged periods.
- Physical therapy—Wrist and finger exercises can help you regain mobility and range of motion in your hands.
- Surgery—In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to remove swollen cysts around the joints, replace the joints, or fuse them.
Finger and wrist arthritis risk factors
Certain risk factors can increase your chances of developing finger and wrist arthritis. The most common include:
- Age—Osteoarthritis is most common in people over the age of 50.
- Gender—Women are more likely than men to develop finger and wrist arthritis.
- Genetics—A family history of osteoarthritis puts you at greater risk of developing the condition.
- Overuse—Strenuous or prolonged stress on the fingers and wrists can lead to arthritis.
- Past injuries—Finger or wrist fractures, sprains or strains can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Finger and wrist arthritis prevention
While there is no one way to prevent the development of finger and wrist arthritis, you can reduce your risk by making healthy lifestyle choices and avoiding joint stress. Be sure to:
- Avoid tobacco—Smoking damages cartilage and joint tissue, making it more likely that you’ll develop osteoarthritis.
- Maintain a healthy body weight—While obesity isn’t likely to directly affect the finger and wrist joints, it can cause high blood pressure and exacerbate swelling.
- Perform hand exercises—Regular stretches and exercises can help keep your fingers and wrists flexible and increase range-of-motion.
- Reduce joint stress—Making ergonomic adjustments when typing, writing or lifting heavy objects can help relieve joint stress and prevent long-term damage.
Make an appointment
Getting the right diagnosis for finger and wrist arthritis is the first step toward effective treatment. Get connected with a specialist who can evaluate your condition create a customized treatment plan. Learn more or make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist: Call TriHealth at 513 246 7846 or our orthopedic partner, Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, at 513 961 HAND or 513 961 4263.