Hand Arthritis: Lifestyle Tips and Treatments

If you are one of the many people who suffer from hand arthritis, you know how frustrating and painful the disease can get. It can be difficult to perform normal daily activities, such as opening a jar or gripping a spatula. There are, however, many options that may help you relieve your aching hand joints. 

If hand pain and joint stiffness sound familiar to you, and you’re looking for relief, the skilled surgeons at Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery can help you navigate the many available treatment options. 

Hand arthritis — what is it?

Arthritis comes in many forms and can affect many parts of your body. Arthritis causes symptoms such as joint swelling, stiffness, pain, and decreased movement of the joint. 

The symptoms of arthritis may be constant or intermittent and may range from mild to severe. When the symptoms of arthritis become severe, it causes chronic pain and may affect your ability to perform even the simplest tasks. 

Hand arthritis is one of the many forms of arthritis. There are two types of arthritis that commonly affect the hands. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissue, causing chronic inflammation and pain. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear-and-tear over time of your joints and surrounding tissue.

Both forms of arthritis are treatable and can be managed at home and under our care.

Treatments available for hand arthritis

If you’ve been suffering from arthritis in your hands, fear not, for there are many treatment options available to decrease pain. The first line of defense for hand arthritis is conservative treatment, including:

  • Moist heat
  • Ice
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories
  • Prescription pain medications
  • Temporary splinting
  • Physical therapy
  • Joint injections

In many cases, these treatments are enough to reduce pain and improve motion in the hand. However, if you’ve tried conservative treatments without relief or improved motion, you may need more assertive treatment options.

Surgery is usually the last resort for arthritis, but may be considered if conservative therapies have failed or severe pain persists and you can’t perform daily activities. Some of the surgical options for hand arthritis include:

  •  Synovectomy
  •  Osteotomy
  •  Joint fusion
  •  Joint replacement

Our team discusses your specific needs and which option is best for you.

Home treatments and tips for reducing hand arthritis symptoms

There are also many things you can do at home to reduce your hand arthritis symptoms and slow joint deterioration. One of the best things you can do is hand exercises. Performing hand exercises regularly can strengthen muscles in the hand, keep tendons and ligaments flexible, and increase the production of synovial fluid, which is used to lubricate your joints. This improves the range of motion in your hand, helping you grip things that you once couldn’t.

Some examples of hand exercises are making a fist and releasing, finger bends, thumb bends, finger lifts, and wrist stretches. Repeating these exercises several times on each hand several times a day can greatly improve your hand arthritis.

Another tip is to get kitchen utensils and gardening tools with thicker hand grips. One of the hardest things for you to do with hand arthritis is gripping onto commonly used objects. The thicker handgrip doesn’t require you to close your hand as tightly, causing less discomfort.

Some other lifestyle changes you can make to improve your symptoms of hand arthritis include:

  •  Get enough sleep
  •  Quit smoking
  •  Eat a diet with foods rich in antioxidants
  •  Stay active
  •  Reduce sugar intake

Managing your hand arthritis may be as easy as making some lifestyle modifications or may require more conventional forms of treatment. If you are looking for relief from the swelling and pain related to hand arthritis, contact the skilled professionals at Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online today.

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