Arthritis Of The Fingers And Hands - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment. Exercise For Hand Arthritis

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Video: Arthritis Of The Fingers And Hands - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment. Exercise For Hand Arthritis

Video: Arthritis Of The Fingers And Hands - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment. Exercise For Hand Arthritis
Video: Hand Arthritis Stretches & Exercises - Ask Doctor Jo 2023, March
Arthritis Of The Fingers And Hands - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment. Exercise For Hand Arthritis
Arthritis Of The Fingers And Hands - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment. Exercise For Hand Arthritis

Causes, symptoms and treatment of finger arthritis

Hand arthritis is an inflammatory process localized in the corresponding joints. Arthritis of the hands and fingers is a common condition. According to the latest data, this disease affects every seventh inhabitant of the planet. In most cases, women are affected, almost five times more often than men. Doctors explain this by the fact that women, due to the peculiarities of their professional and everyday activities, are more often engaged in small manual labor. Metacarpophalangeal and interphalangeal joints usually suffer from arthritis.

This disease proceeds with inflammatory changes and, as a rule, is secondary, that is, a consequence of an existing disease. For example, hand arthritis is observed in rheumatic, infectious and metabolic disorders. The disease is socially significant, as it often leads to the fact that a person loses the ability to work and self-service, becomes disabled.


  • Symptoms of Arthritis in the Fingers and Hands
  • Causes of hand arthritis
  • Stages of hand arthritis
  • Types of arthritis in the fingers and hands
  • Disease prognosis
  • Hand arthritis treatment
  • Diet for hand arthritis
  • Exercise for hand arthritis
  • Prevention of hand arthritis

Symptoms of Arthritis in the Fingers and Hands

arthritis of the fingers
arthritis of the fingers

The symptoms of the disease can vary depending on what caused it.

But at the same time, there are general signs that are characteristic of hand arthritis of any etiology:

  • The pain that a person experiences when performing any actions with his hands. At the initial stage of the disease, it may be mild, but as the pathogenesis develops, the unpleasant sensations become stronger. At first, the pain manifests itself only in the morning hours, after a person has remained motionless for a long time, and after 30 minutes it disappears. Often, patients call the pain that occurs in the joints of the fingers aches, which clearly indicates its nature. Sometimes it can be accompanied by a burning and tingling sensation;
  • The response of joints to changes in weather, as well as to changes in atmospheric pressure;
  • Stiffness of the hands, inability to move fingers, this symptom is especially pronounced in the morning hours, immediately after waking up. The feeling is similar to putting on a narrow glove. Often, in order to perform elementary self-service actions, a person must first develop hands and fingers;

  • The skin on the knuckles and around the affected joints becomes red, hot to the touch, and stretches;
  • Swelling and swelling develop around the joints. This makes the hands look like pillows, the fingers thicken;
  • The body temperature rises locally - in the place where the diseased joint is located. But sometimes, for example, with infectious or rheumatoid arthritis, the general body temperature may rise, fever is often observed;
  • Arthritis joints of the hands are affected symmetrically;
  • During movement with the fingers, a characteristic joint creak can be heard - crepitus. It should not be confused with normal clicks, which are the norm;
  • Subcutaneous nodules may appear;
  • Sometimes there is a loss of body weight associated with the inflammatory process in the body, as well as fatigue and weakness. More often, similar symptoms are observed with rheumatoid arthritis. Hands take on a fusiform shape.

Causes of hand arthritis

arthritis of the fingers
arthritis of the fingers

The following reasons can be distinguished as the main factors leading to arthritis of the joints of the hands:

  • Age. The older a person is, the more his joints wear out, the nature of the damage is mechanical. In addition, with age, the metabolism slows down somewhat, the cartilage does not receive nutrients in the proper volume (due to circulatory disorders). In women, hand arthritis occurs due to the fact that hormonal changes occur in their body during menopause, which negatively affects the condition of the articular and bone tissues;
  • Previous trauma is one of the most common causes of hand arthritis. It can be bruises, fractures, cracks. They, of course, heal over time, but the joints remain damaged, which over the years remind of themselves with arthritis;
  • Working conditions affect the incidence of hand arthritis. So, this pathology is considered an occupational disease of seamstresses, jewelers, tennis players and all other people whose activities are associated with the fact that fingers and hands are in tension all the time;
  • Hereditary predisposition. Scientists have found that if blood relatives suffered from arthritis, then their descendants are likely to also be affected by this disease;
  • Decreased immunity can provoke inflammation of small joints;
  • Previously transferred infectious disease. Often, damage to the joints of the hand occurs after a person has had a sore throat, the causative agent of which is streptococcus or staphylococcus. Especially often, such complications occur against the background of improper therapy of the disease. But the cause of the development of inflammation can be the usual ARVI, as well as hypothermia;

  • Allergic reactions.
  • Diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatism, sexually transmitted infections, lupus erythematosus, diabetes mellitus, gout, tuberculosis can all cause arthritis of the hands and fingers;
  • Stress should not be ignored as a factor influencing the onset of the disease.

Stages of hand arthritis

There are several stages in the development of arthritis of the fingers and hands, each of which has its own symptoms:

  • The first stage is characterized by the absence of obvious signs of the disease. However, knowing what to pay attention to, you can already at this stage independently suspect arthritis and consult a doctor. When the disease begins to affect the hands, a person is not able to perform simple actions in the morning - turn on water or gas. At the same time, the stiffness goes away very quickly, so patients often do not seek medical help;
  • The second stage is characterized by the formation of bone erosion, the symptoms of the disease become brighter. The joints of the fingers begin to hurt, crunch and swell, a person experiences difficulties not only in the morning, but also in the daytime. Due to the fact that it becomes more difficult to perform professional actions, people at this stage often go to the doctor;
  • The third stage is determined by joint deformity. The hands are always affected symmetrically, the pain in the fingers becomes very severe. Most of all, it torments a person in the morning, the skin turns red, the local temperature rises, the movements are constrained. These signs may not go away until the patient takes an anesthetic;
  • Stage four. Articular cartilage grows together, it becomes impossible to move the fingers, even the simplest self-care skills are lost. The person becomes helpless, and he is assigned one of the degrees of disability.

On the subject: Arthrosis of the joints of the fingers and toes

Types of arthritis in the fingers and hands

Types of arthritis in the fingers and hands
Types of arthritis in the fingers and hands

If you refer to the classification, you can count up to 10 varieties of this disease.

Most often, the hands are exposed to the following types of arthritis:

  • Infectious arthritis is the result of an infection in the joint, which can be transmitted by blood or by direct route;
  • Exchange arthritis, which can also be called "gouty". The reason is the accumulation of uric acid salts around the joints. It proceeds most often systemically;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. In most cases, it begins precisely with small joints, which include the joints of the fingers. Subsequently, the disease affects the larger joints;

  • Post-traumatic arthritis is the result of damage to bone tissue and articular cartilage. The inflammatory process is often delayed;
  • Depending on the location of the inflammation, hand arthritis can be proximal, middle, or distal;
  • You can find the name "rhizarthritis" - a definition of arthritis that affects only the thumb;
  • Secondary arthritis, which occurs as the body's response to immune disorders, allergic reactions, or somatic diseases.

Disease prognosis

The sooner the disease is detected, and the stricter the patient adheres to all medical recommendations, the more favorable the prognosis for recovery. Even in the case when it is not possible to be cured completely, the person has a stable remission, during which he can live and work fully. Joint mobility will be maintained for a long time. A person may not get a disability until the end of his life and will self-serve, as well as work at any job until retirement. Thus, the prognosis directly depends on the patient himself, or rather on how he will follow the medical recommendations.

Hand arthritis treatment

Before starting treatment, it is necessary to remember the following rules, which will make any therapeutic scheme more effective, make it possible to forget about the disease for a long time:

  • Forget about self-medication. All, even the seemingly most proven methods of treating diseased hand joints, must be previously agreed with the doctor;
  • The stress on the sore joints of the fingers should be minimal. If this cannot be done due to professional activity, then it is necessary to go on sick leave, at least for the duration of an exacerbation of the disease. Responsibilities for housekeeping should be delegated to close people as much as possible;
  • Perform daily exercises that your doctor will definitely recommend. They need to be done competently, without effort and only during the period of remission;
  • All appointments of the attending physician must be fulfilled without question;
  • It is forbidden to lift heavy objects, as well as make sudden movements with your hands;
  • Rest at night should be complete and be at least 8 hours;
  • If necessary, you need to purchase special devices that make life easier for people with arthritis;
  • You need to strictly adhere to the chosen diet, do not take breaks during the holidays;
  • Drink the amount of water recommended by your doctor every day.

Medication for hand arthritis

Medication for hand arthritis
Medication for hand arthritis

Since most often arthritis of the hands proceeds systemically, and many joints are involved in the pathological process, starting with small ones and ending with large ones, it will not be possible to do without medication. If the therapy is carried out according to the doctor's prescription, then the side effects can be minimized. Moreover, modern remedies for the treatment of arthritis are being developed taking into account the latest advances in medicine.

Medical treatment of hand arthritis is carried out using the following drugs:

  • When the disease is in the acute phase, NSAIDs are required. The drugs in this group include diclofenac, ibuprofen, ketonal, ibuklin. They will help relieve some inflammation and swelling, as well as reduce pain, which will immediately have a beneficial effect on the patient's well-being;
  • Drugs that promote vasodilation. Their intake is necessary so that the joints receive nutrition from the blood in the proper amount. It is impossible to provide this process with constricted vessels. Trental, teonikol, actovegin are prescribed as such agents. They come in the form of injections, which are administered intramuscularly or intravenously, at the discretion of the doctor. A single course consists of 10 injections;
  • If arthritis is bacterial in nature, then its therapy is impossible without the use of systemic antibiotics. It can be penicillins, as well as macrolides;
  • To optimize the nutrition of the joint, vitamin complexes are prescribed, sometimes they are supplemented with calcium preparations;
  • If the disease does not respond to the above therapy, then corticosteroids or antimalarial drugs may be prescribed. But doctors try to avoid these drugs, as their effect is short-lived, and there are many side effects;
  • For external use, a variety of ointments containing NSAIDs are prescribed. It can be fastum gel, voltaren and others. The advantage of topical treatment is that it does not (unlike tablets) irritate the gastrointestinal tract.

On the subject: Modern dietary supplements for the restoration of joints

Physiotherapy procedures

The need to undergo physiotherapy procedures is dictated by the fact that the treatment of hand arthritis should be carried out in a complex. Physiotherapy opens up a lot of possibilities, helps to improve the metabolic process and stop the destructive effect of the disease on the joints.

Treatment with ultrasound, electrophoresis, massage, quartzization and acupuncture are successfully applied. Since the joints of the hands are in close proximity to the surface of the skin, the impact on them using any of these procedures will be most effective.

Electrophoresis is performed using a special apparatus. The joint is exposed to a current with a different frequency. It improves blood circulation, relieves pain and promotes cartilage regeneration. Using electrophoresis, various drugs are delivered to the joint, for example, Dimexide, analgin, novocaine, etc.

Electrophoresis cannot be performed if:

  • A person has an increased body temperature;
  • There is a built-in implant that falls under the affected area;
  • There are skin diseases.

Ultrasound is no less popular in the treatment of hand joints. It helps relieve spasms, restore mobility to fingers, and reduce pain. However, this method of treatment can be used only when the acute stage of the disease has passed, since exposure to ultrasound affects the degree of vascular permeability. Although this method is highly effective, it also has a number of contraindications, such as menopause, coronary heart disease, vascular dystonia, hypertension, and other diseases.

Thus, ultrasound therapy and electrophoresis are considered the most effective for arthritis of the fingers and hands. These are the two most frequently used methods of adjuvant therapy for hand arthritis in modern domestic medicine. Although in other countries they adhere to other methods. So, in China, acupuncture is used to treat hand arthritis. However, only complex therapy is able to relieve a person from pain and inflammation in the joints.

Treatment depending on the stage of the disease

During the acute period, anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed, as well as pain relievers. Any form can be: injections, ointments, tablets. It is selected individually for each patient.

When the period of remission comes, the edema subsides, the pain subsides, and the joint itself is not inflamed, then it is necessary to actively engage in the restoration of the joint and at the same time eliminate the cause of the arthritis. If the inflammation began against the background of gout, then purine metabolism in the body should be normalized, which will reduce the level of uric acid. To do this, you must definitely follow a diet. With rheumatoid arthritis, it is necessary to normalize the functioning of the immune system as a whole. It is at the stage of remission that a course of physiotherapy is prescribed.

If the patient asked for help too late, when the phalanges of the fingers were fused, then endoprosthetics will need to be performed.

Endoprosthetics of finger joints


This procedure is effective in treating most joint diseases. But it is prescribed when other methods of therapy do not give the desired effect. Before replacing even a small finger joint with a prosthesis, the patient is fully examined. Each artificial joint is designed individually, taking into account the physiological characteristics of a person.

The task of endoprosthetics is to restore the functionality of the hands. After the operation, the person will be able to perform self-service actions. However, this procedure has significant disadvantages - high cost and long rehabilitation period.

How does finger endoprosthetics work:

  • An incision is made on the dorsal side of the hand, then the articular capsule is opened;
  • The heads of the bones are removed in the same way as the phalanges of the fingers, but usually not completely, but partially. The decision is made by the doctor;
  • Dentures are inserted into dilated canals.

After a successful operation and a course of rehabilitation, a person will be able to restore the motor activity of the hands and significantly improve the quality of life. Also, he will no longer be tormented by many years of pain that causes arthritis of the hands at the last stage.

However, there are a number of contraindications for performing arthroplasty surgery:

  • Acute or chronic osteomyelitis;
  • Any skin infections until they are completely cured;
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Pathology of the cardiovascular system (meaning severe forms in which a person cannot tolerate anesthesia);
  • Broncho-pulmonary diseases;
  • Psycho-neurological deviations;
  • Focuses of infection until the moment of cure - sinusitis, caries, tonsillitis, otitis media.

If earlier the problem of replacing a native joint with an artificial one could not be resolved due to the fact that the prosthesis was often rejected by the body, now orthopedic surgeons in most cases perform the operation successfully. The joints themselves are made of special materials that have increased strength and, at the same time, perfectly take root in the human body.

Diet for hand arthritis


There are certain foods that can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. These include:

  • High-fat saltwater fish. These can be representatives of the salmon family, tuna, sardines;
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. These are papaya, kiwi, peaches and oranges.;
  • Do not forget about apples, which contain elements that help relieve inflammation in the joints and restore cartilage tissue;
  • Nuts and seeds. Almonds should be preferred. But it is important that the nuts are not salty, since salt in large quantities is prohibited for people with arthritis;
  • Foods like ginger and turmeric will not only reduce inflammation, but also help reduce pain.
  • Garlic is great for fighting inflammation. But do not get too carried away with it, as it irritates the stomach. It is best to consume a few cloves of garlic with your main meal;
  • Cereals such as millet, buckwheat, oatmeal and rice.

Sometimes doctors insist on switching the patient with arthritis of the hands to a completely vegetarian diet. At the same time, thermal processing of vegetables and fruits should be minimized. It is not necessary to permanently exclude animal products from your diet; you need to do this for only a week, until the acute phase of the disease passes. During this time, substances that have a destructive effect on cartilage and bone tissue will have time to be excreted from the body to some extent.

However, there are foods from the consumption of which it is important to refrain at all times: both during an exacerbation and during remission.

These include:

  • Hot peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and pumpkin. These vegetables can trigger an attack of pain. Especially if the arthritis of the hands was caused by gout;
  • All foods containing saturated fat. These include fatty meats and delicacies, offal, baked goods on margarine;
  • Alcoholic drinks;
  • Chocolate, cocoa, gingerbread, cookies, condensed milk;
  • Sorrel, rhubarb, spinach and green onions.

For those people who suffer from arthritis of the fingers, certain dietary rules have been developed.

If you adhere to them, then the diet will be effective and will definitely have a positive effect:

  • The daily diet should be broken down into 3 main meals and 3 snacks. Thus, it will be possible to regulate the level of sugar in the blood, and, importantly, the level of puric acids, due to which deposits are formed on the joints of the hands;
  • You can not consume a large amount of food at a time, as well as starve;
  • Body weight must be kept under control. If you have excess pounds, then you need to lose them. But this process must take place under medical supervision;
  • You need to drink a sufficient amount of water, which the doctor can calculate, based on how much a person weighs;
  • You can drink not only ordinary, but also alkaline mineral water, if there are no contraindications for this.

Exercise for hand arthritis

Exercise for hand arthritis
Exercise for hand arthritis

There are special exercises designed to develop sore fingers and hands. But they must be performed during the period of remission and in such a way as not to harm health.

Several effective exercises to restore the function of the joints of the hands:

  • Exercise 1. "Fist". Warm-up, which consists in clenching your hands tightly into a fist. In this case, the thumb should be on top of the other four. You should press them on your fingers and stay in this position for at least half a minute. After that, the fist is unclenched, and the fingers are spread as wide as possible to the sides. It is necessary to do the exercise with both hands simultaneously. You need to repeat up to 4 times. An important limitation to performing the exercise is the occurrence of painful sensations. If discomfort appears, the exercise must either be stopped completely or the intensity of compression must be reduced;
  • Exercise 2. "Rosary". Alternately, you need to touch the pads of each of the remaining fingers with your thumb. You should start with the index finger, stopping on the little finger and returning back. Run at least 5 times;
  • Exercise 3. "Fan". The palms must be pressed tightly to any flat surface, but at the same time without support on them. Try to strain your hands and spread your fingers as wide as possible. Repeat 5 times, try to perform as if a tight elastic band is put on the fingers, the resistance of which must be overcome;
  • Exercise 4. "Piano". The arms remain in the same position as in the previous exercise. In this case, it is necessary to alternately try to raise your finger up, while leaving nearby fingers on the table. Do not bend them in the joints. Repeat 3 times for each brush;
  • Exercise 5. "Pendulum". To do this, the hands must also be left on the table, the fingers rise alternately up, but at the same time they will need to be moved in different directions - twice, and then the same number of times in a circle;
  • Exercise 6. "Claws". To do this, you need to leave your hands in the same position, bend and unbend your fingers, pulling them to the palm. But you need to do it not one by one, but with all five fingers at once;
  • Exercise 7. "Pencil". You need to take a pencil, put it on a flat surface and roll it from your fingertips to the base of your palm. The same exercise should be performed with the pencil suspended in an upright position. It is better if it has ribbed edges rather than a smooth surface;
  • Exercise 8. "Ball". Put the ball on a flat surface and roll it back and forth with your fingers. You can diversify the exercise by rolling the ball in a circle. It is better if it is a special massage ball with small ribbed spikes. Thus, it will be possible to achieve a massage effect and improve the blood supply to the hands.

On the subject: Therapeutic gymnastics and exercises for arthritis

Prevention of hand arthritis


Not a single person can completely protect themselves from a disease such as arthritis, however, there are preventive measures aimed at reducing the risk of an illness.

To do this, you need to adhere to the following recommendations:

  • Each infectious disease must be treated to the end, without self-medication and in time seeking help from a doctor;
  • Take vitamin and mineral complexes designed to provide joints with nutrients in full;
  • Do sport;
  • Strengthen the body with hardening procedures, adhere to a healthy lifestyle;
  • Try to prevent sudden fluctuations in weight, control body weight and get rid of extra pounds in a timely manner;
  • Eliminate or sharply limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages, get rid of such a bad habit as smoking;
  • Correct the diet.

Author of the article: Kaplan Alexander Sergeevich | Orthopedist

Education: diploma in the specialty "General Medicine" received in 2009 at the Medical Academy. I. M. Sechenov. In 2012 completed postgraduate studies in Traumatology and Orthopedics at the City Clinical Hospital named after Botkin at the Department of Traumatology, Orthopedics and Disaster Surgery.

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