Arthritis in Fingers

Arthritis in fingers that is usually diagnosed in older people occurs due to wear and tear of the cartilage over time. To know more about diagnosis and treatment for finger arthritis, read on...
The term arthritis refers to a condition in which the joint is swollen and causes a lot of pain. Finger arthritis affects all the three joints of the finger. The inflammation of joints interferes with normal movement of the fingers. Inability to move the fingers freely is one of the most common arthritis symptoms in fingers. In this condition, the range of motion of fingers is restricted considerably. However, with proper treatment, arthritis of fingers can be managed effectively.

Arthritis in Fingers

There are different types of arthritis but the one that affects the fingers is mainly osteoarthritis and in some cases, rheumatoid arthritis too. As we all know, the joint is a point of contact between two different bones. The ends of the bones is covered with a tough elastic tissue known as the cartilage. Osteoarthritis in fingers and knuckles is the result of gradual degeneration of the cartilage. The wear and tear of the cartilage causes friction between bones. The bones with reduced cartilage rub against each other, leading to inflammation of joints. Arthritis in fingers and toes can also occur as a consequence of an injury in which the cartilage is severely damaged. Even rheumatoid arthritis may display symptoms of arthritis in fingers in the acute stage, and gradually the swelling and pain may spread to other joints of the body. Thus, the course of treatment is decided depending upon the diagnosed arthritis type.

Arthritis In Finger Remedies

What are the different ways to treat inflammatory arthritis in fingers? Treatment methods vary from prescription medicines to home remedies, all of which are discussed below:

Oral Medicines
Prescription medicines that help to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with arthritic fingers are ibuprofen and acetaminophen. These are basically anti-inflammatory medications that provide temporary and symptomatic relief. This is because arthritis symptoms aggravate when the patient stops taking these medications.

Cortisone Injections
Administering cortisone shots directly into the affected joint can also help to improve symptoms of finger arthritis. These injections have been extremely effective to alleviate the discomfort and once administered the pain relieving effect lasts for several weeks.

Ice Therapy
Application of ice cubes on the affected area can help to reduce the inflammation, which in turn will help to improve the movement of fingers. Patients with different types of arthritis have responded quite well to this simple home remedy.

Heat Therapy
Another effective way to treat arthritis in fingers is to use heat therapy. Applying heat to reduce stiffness in joints. Dipping the affected fingers in warm water or using a heating pad are some of the ways of applying heat to the inflamed area.

Arthritis in finger joints can also be treated with herbs. Ginger exhibits excellent anti-inflammatory properties and so consuming it helps to reduce swelling and pain of finger arthritis. Taking ginger tea or having small pieces of fresh ginger along with meals benefits to decrease the inflammation.

Arthritis In Fingers Exercises

When the symptoms of finger arthritis subside, the doctor may also prescribe stretching exercises to reduce joint stiffness. Exercises such as bending the fingers in the third and middle joint and then again stretching them helps to strengthen the muscles. Exercise that involves spreading the fingers wide apart and then bringing them close to each other has also been effective to improve the range of motion in fingers (e.g. kneading dough). Touching the tip of the thumb with different fingers one at a time is an easy way to exercise individual joints of fingers. These exercises have proved beneficial to increase the flexibility of fingers.

If none of the treatment options help to ease the symptoms of arthritis in fingers, surgery is often recommended. Although, there are different surgical procedures to treat arthritis, the one that is used for finger arthritis is joint replacement. In this procedure, the damaged surface of the joint is removed and replaced with a device that is usually made up of plastic or metal. The new joint that allows free movement of fingers usually lasts for 15 -20 years.
By Nicks J
Last Updated: 9/30/2011
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