Finger Joint Osteoarthritis
Find out how finger joint osteoarthritis is diagnosed and treated
- Previous joint damage (from trauma or other conditions such as such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis)
- Age (risk increases with age)
- Family history (genetics)
Most commonly, a pain is felt on the top and sides of the affected joint. Fortunately, the presence of finger joint osteoarthritis does not always cause pain so it is quite possible to live pain-free despite reasonably advanced arthritis. In addition, the joints undergo a ‘wear and repair cycle’ so pain can improve with appropriate treatment.
Pain with sustained use of the fingers such as typing or with gripping activities requiring a larger range of motion at the finger joints are often the main aggravating activities. There may be some joint swelling and thickening to the joint. If the osteoarthritis becomes more severe the movements of the affected finger joint may become increasingly stiff.
In the majority of cases, the symptoms of finger joint osteoarthritis can be managed effectively by non-surgical measures as described below.
Regular exercises to maintain flexibility and strength to the hand and fingers:[Contrast bathing video] https://youtu.be/5g3yKlVViIo [Wrist extension prayer stretch] https://youtu.be/Db1_y7GpEP0
5×30 second holds, 2x per day
Using painkillers when needed
Over-the-counter analgesia is available through pharmacies when needed. Paracetamol is most commonly prescribed. Anti-inflammatories, such as Iburufen are also used, but as there is little or no inflammation involved in osteoarthritis these are best avoided without discussing with your GP. Side effects are even more common than with paracetamol so please ensure to take appropriate medical advice. There is a good booklet on the Arthritis Research UK website with information about the various drug options.
Corticosteroid injection therapy
For individuals with finger joint OA who continue to suffer significant symptoms in spite a course of non-surgical management (outlined above), a corticosteroid injection can be offered as the next line of treatment. You can read more about local corticosteroid injections here.
Finger joint (fusion) and in rare circumstances joint replacement surgery can be considered for individuals who:
- Have X-rays confirming advanced osteoarthritis of the finger joint
- Have trialled a course of non-surgical management without success
- Have consistent, disabling pain significantly function and impairing quality of life
Specialists Offering Finger joint osteoarthritis
Ways to pay
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