Arthritis is an inflammation of the tissues that line your joints. This inflammations causes pain, swelling, and stiffness around the joints, as well as loss of movement. Arthritis limits everyday activities such as walking, dressing, and bathing. It is the most common cause of disability in the United States as it affects all races and ethnic groups.
The symptoms of primary osteoarthritis progress in parallel with the severity of the disease. The main symptoms are:
- Stiffness of the joint
- Reduced range of motion
Traditional conservative management includes:
- Anti-inflammatory therapy with NSAIDs to reduce swelling and pain
- Gentle exercise to strengthen hands and fingers and increase range of movement
Surgery is necessary in case of strong pain or with advanced deformity of the hand and finger joints that severely affect the function of the extremity and patient's quality of life.
Non-operative treatment for mucous cysts includes observation.
Surgical treatment typically requires surgical reconstruction with an excision of the cyst and osteophyte resection.
Non-operative treatment options include observation and anti-inflammatory therapy with NSAIDs.
Surgical treatments may consist of:
Non-operative treatment of erosive osteoarthritis focuses on physical therapy and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Early treatment is best.
Erosive osteoarthritis with intolerable deformity is the preferred indication for fusion surgery.
MP Joint Arthritis
MP joint arthritis may cause pain, loss of motion, and swelling. These symptoms may feel worse when gripping or grasping, such as when turning a key or opening a jar. Over time, the fingers may shift toward the pinkie, which is called an ulnar drift.
There are many treatments available depending on the amount of pain and loss of function:
- Oral medication
- Steroid injections
- Heat or ice application
- Hand therapy
- Surgery (fusion vs. joint replacement)
Thumb CMC Arthritis
Thumb arthritis is the second most common type of arthritis in the hand; the most prevalent hand arthritis involves the last joint in each finger.
Non-operative treatment options are based on the severity of the symptoms and can involve:
- Thumb spica bracing
- Steroid injections into the basal joint
When conservative treatment fails and the patient is sufficiently symptomatic, surgery is an option. Surgery may involve trapeziectomy and ligament reconstruction, which results in improved grip and pinch strengths. Metacarpal arthroplasty is a less invasive surgery with faster recovery and rehabilitation.