Summer Fun in RecoveryOsteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints, making it difficult to carry out daily activities. While osteoarthritis can affect different body parts, one area that often gets overlooked is the hands.

Hand osteoarthritis may not be as well-known as hip or knee osteoarthritis, but it can still significantly impact a person's quality of life. That's why Dr. Mark Yaffe, a highly skilled orthopaedic specialist with a subspecialty focus on treating various hand conditions, has put together a list of five signs that may indicate you have hand osteoarthritis.

What is Hand Osteoarthritis?

Hand osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects the joints in the hands. This typically affects the joints at the base of the fingers (proximal interphalangeal or PIP joints) and the middle joint of the fingers (distal interphalangeal or DIP joints). However, it can also affect other small joints in the hand. While it can develop at any age, hand osteoarthritis is most commonly seen in people over 40.

People with hand osteoarthritis may experience pain, stiffness, and swelling in their hands, and sometimes the formation of cysts on the finger joints (particularly the outermost ones), making it difficult to grip objects, open jars, or perform other daily tasks.

5 Signs You Might Have Hand Osteoarthritis

Here are five signs that may indicate you have hand osteoarthritis:

  1. 1. Joint Pain

    The most common symptom of hand osteoarthritis is joint pain. You may feel a dull, achy pain in the affected joints, especially when using your hands for typing or gripping objects. If you're experiencing persistent joint pain, it's essential to consult with a doctor to determine the cause.

  2. 2. Stiffness in Your Hands

    Stiffness is another common symptom of hand osteoarthritis. People with this condition may find their hands stiff and difficult to move, especially when first waking up or after prolonged periods of inactivity. The stiffness may also worsen with cold weather.

  3. 3. Swelling and Tenderness in the Joints

    Hand osteoarthritis can cause swelling and tenderness in the affected joints. This is due to inflammation, which can make the joints feel warm and slightly tender to the touch. If you notice any swelling or tenderness in your hands, especially around the joints, it's essential to consult with a specialist like Dr. Yaffe for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  4. 4. Bony Lumps or Nodes

    Another sign of hand osteoarthritis is the development of bony lumps or nodes on the affected joint. These can be seen and felt under the skin, tender to touch, and may form on the middle joints of the finger (Bouchard's nodes) or at the joint near the fingertip (Heberden's nodes). These lumps are caused by bone spurs (osteophytes) that form due to joint damage from osteoarthritis.

  5. 5. Difficulty Performing Daily Tasks

    As hand osteoarthritis progresses, it can significantly impact a person's ability to perform daily tasks. Simple activities like opening jars, gripping objects, or writing may become challenging and painful. If you struggle with these tasks, you must consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treating Hand Osteoarthritis

While there is no cure for hand osteoarthritis, various treatments are available to relieve pain, manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Some common treatment options for hand osteoarthritis include:

  • OTC pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy and hand exercises to improve flexibility and strength
  • Splints or braces to support the affected joints
  • Injections of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid to reduce pain and inflammation in the affected joints

In severe cases, damaged joints can be surgically repaired or replaced with joint replacement surgery. This procedure helps alleviate chronic pain and improves hand function for arthritic joints.

With Chicago’s Top Hand Doctor, You Are In Good Hands

While osteoarthritis of the hand may not be as well-known as other forms of the disease, it is a prevalent condition that can significantly impact a person's daily life. If you're experiencing any of the signs mentioned above, it's essential to consult with a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Mark Yaffe is a highly skilled orthopaedic specialist who can provide expert care for hand osteoarthritis and other hand conditions. With his experience and expertise, you can find relief from hand pain and improve your quality of life.

Don't let hand pain and stiffness hold you back – Consult with Dr. Mark Yaffe today to start your journey towards better hand health. Schedule your appointment now.