Osteoarthritis a degenerative joint disease in which the cushioning cartilage that covers the bone surfaces at the joints begins to wear out. It may be caused by simple Â“wear and tearÂ” on joints, or it may develop after an injury to a joint. The degradation of the smooth cartilage surface results in the onset of arthritis or Â‘inflamed jointsÂ’.
HAND ARTHRITIS: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
The human hand consists of 27 bones; of which 8 bones are smaller, which are responsible for its efficient function. The bones are joined to each other and the place where they meet is called a joint. The joint is nothing but a cartilage covered bone surface. The bones move smoothly against each other when the hands and the fingers are moved.
Osteoarthritis a degenerative joint disease in which the cushioning cartilage that covers the bone surfaces at the joints begins to wear out. It may be caused by simple “wear and tear” on joints, or it may develop after an injury to a joint. The degradation of the smooth cartilage surface results in the onset of arthritis or ‘inflamed joints’.
As an outcome, there is significant friction between the joints, which leads to inflammation, and deformity of the joints in the hands. There is also very severe pain which makes every movement of the hands quite difficult. That is why it is very important to diagnose arhtritis at the earliest so as to contain the further degradation of the joints.
Arthritis affects almost all the joints of the body but it in the hands that the disease is easily visualized. The causes are various from infection to injury, but proper diagnosis and treatment is the key to abort the development of this disease. The important thing is that the arthritis of the hands should not reach the deformity stage where the hands entirely become invalid.
? The most common cause of arthritis in the hand is due to the wear and tear of ligaments. The pain is due to the deterioration of the ligaments, which leads to the bones rubbing against each other.
? Most serious trauma in the hands can cause arthritis. If the bones and ligaments suffer from harm then it can start the process of impairment.
? Sometimes certain diseases cause cysts in the hands, which can damage the bones of the hands. If the cysts are on the tip of the finger then it can also compress the joints. However, this is rare case.
? Infection in the hands can also cause arthritis.
? The most visible symptom of hand arthritis is the inflammation of the joints.
? The joints also get stiff which is followed by the loss of motion in the fingers.
? The joints at the tip of the finger and the joint at the mid finger are the most affected.
? There is also the formation of a soggy mass at the back of the hand.
? The degeneration and destruction of the cartilages results in crepitation with movement.
? Deformity in the finger joints is visible. The joints appear knobby.
? Moving the hands causes pain throughout the hand and fingers. The pain is particularly concentrated around the inflamed joints.
? Proper diagnosis of the hand can be carried by a medical practitioner through examination of the hand and by taking X-rays.
? A bone scan also determines if you have the arthritis of the hand. This is very helpful to detect arthritis of the hand at the early stage.
? Arthroscopy can also detect the onset of arthritis. This is one of the best procedures as it gives the clearest picture of the joint.
? Medications like the anti-inflammatory drugs can control the swelling and the pain but these can not restore the joint damage.
? Injecting long acting anesthetic and a steroid can relieve the pain. This should be used for a limited number of times or it can lead to various side effects.
? Another treatment method is to splint the affected joint. This will provide support to the joint and reduce the stress placed on it. The splint should be short so that it does not prevent the use of the hand. However, the splints must not be worn for too long.
? If nothing gives relief then surgery can be the best and last option.