Hand or Wrist Arthritis

Hand or wrist arthritis refers to the inflammation and deterioration of the joints in the hand or wrist, causing pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced mobility.

Hand or Wrist Arthritis
Hand or Wrist Arthritis
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Your Guide to Understanding Hand or Wrist Arthritis

What is Hand or Wrist Arthritis?

Hand or wrist arthritis refers to a condition where the joints in the hand or wrist become inflamed and undergo degeneration. Arthritis can affect various parts of the hand and wrist, including the knuckles, finger joints, thumb joints, and the wrist joint itself. It is a common condition that can cause significant pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced mobility, making it challenging to perform everyday activities.

There are several types of arthritis that can affect the hand or wrist, with the most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis typically occurs due to wear and tear on the joints over time, causing the protective cartilage to break down. This results in friction between the bones, leading to pain and inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, causing inflammation and damage.The symptoms of hand or wrist arthritis can vary from person to person, but common signs include pain that worsens with movement, stiffness in the affected joints, swelling, and a reduced range of motion. As the condition progresses, individuals may experience difficulty gripping objects, weakness in the hand or wrist, and deformities such as nodules or bent fingers. These symptoms can greatly impact daily activities like writing, typing, cooking, and even simple tasks like buttoning a shirt or opening a jar.

Treatment for hand or wrist arthritis aims to manage symptoms, improve joint function, and enhance quality of life. Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment options can include a combination of medication, therapy, splinting or bracing, and lifestyle modifications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation, while physical or occupational therapy can help strengthen the muscles around the affected joints and improve flexibility. Splints or braces may be recommended to provide support, relieve pressure, and stabilize the hand or wrist. In some cases, surgical interventions like joint replacement or fusion may be considered for severe arthritis that does not respond to conservative treatments.

How can Chiropractic help treat Hand or Wrist Arthritis?

Chiropractic services can provide relief for hand and wrist arthritis by addressing the underlying joint dysfunction and inflammation. Regular chiropractic adjustments help keep the joints active, minimizing stiffness and maintaining a greater range of motion.

Chiropractic care reduces dysfunction and inflammation associated with hand pain, offering relief to patients suffering from chronic conditions. By healing damaged soft tissues and improving circulation in the hand and wrist, chiropractic care can decrease swelling and alleviate discomfort. While it cannot restore lost cartilage, chiropractic treatment can help manage symptoms and improve the overall function of the hand and wrist affected by arthritis.

What causes Hand or Wrist Arthritis?

Hand or wrist arthritis can be caused by a variety of factors. The most common cause is wear and tear on the joints over time, known as osteoarthritis. This occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the joints begins to break down, leading to friction between the bones. Overuse or repetitive motions, such as typing or gripping objects, can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in the hand or wrist.

Another type of arthritis that can affect the hand or wrist is rheumatoid arthritis. This is an autoimmune condition where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, causing inflammation and damage. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it is thought to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

In addition to these primary causes, other factors such as injury or trauma to the hand or wrist, infections, metabolic disorders, and certain systemic diseases can also contribute to the development of hand or wrist arthritis.

What treatments might help Hand or Wrist Arthritis?

The treatment for hand or wrist arthritis aims to improve the symptoms and overall quality of life for individuals affected by this condition. Here are some ways in which treatment can help:

  • Pain relief: Various medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or analgesics, may be prescribed to alleviate pain associated with hand or wrist arthritis. These medications target pain receptors and reduce discomfort.
  • Inflammation reduction: Some medications, like NSAIDs, can also help in reducing inflammation in the affected joints, which can contribute to pain relief and improved mobility.
  • Physical therapy: Engaging in specific exercises and physical therapy techniques under the guidance of a therapist can help strengthen the muscles around the hand and wrist, improve flexibility, and enhance joint function. These exercises can also reduce stiffness and increase range of motion.
  • Hand splints or braces: Wearing customized splints or braces can provide support to the affected joints, reduce pain, and promote proper alignment. These assistive devices can be especially helpful during periods of rest or activity.
  • Lifestyle modifications: Making certain lifestyle changes, such as managing weight, adopting joint-friendly strategies for daily activities, and protecting the hands and wrists from excessive strain or injury, can help minimize symptoms and slow down the progression of hand or wrist arthritis.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections into the affected joints may be recommended in some cases to reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from pain and swelling.
  • Surgery: In severe cases when conservative treatments are not effective, surgical interventions such as joint replacement, arthroscopy, or joint fusion may be considered. These procedures aim to alleviate pain and improve joint function.

Signs of Hand or Wrist Arthritis:

Hand or wrist arthritis can present with various signs and symptoms. These may include:

  • Joint pain: Persistent pain in the hand or wrist that may worsen with movement or activity.
  • Stiffness: Difficulty moving the hand or wrist, particularly in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
  • Swelling: The affected joints may appear swollen and feel tender to the touch.
  • Reduced grip strength: Weakened grip strength and difficulty grasping or holding objects.
  • Limited range of motion: Decreased ability to fully flex or extend the hand or wrist.
  • Joint deformities: In advanced cases, arthritis can cause visible joint deformities, such as knobby or bony enlargements.
  • Warmth and redness: The affected area may feel warm to the touch and appear red or inflamed.

Symptoms of Hand or Wrist Arthritis:

Hand or wrist arthritis can manifest with various symptoms, including:

  • Pain: Persistent or intermittent pain in the hand or wrist, which can range from mild to severe. The pain may be dull, aching, or sharp, and it may worsen with movement or activity.
  • Stiffness: Feeling stiffness in the hand or wrist joints, especially in the morning or after periods of rest. This stiffness can make it challenging to move the hand or wrist freely.
  • Swelling: The affected joints may appear swollen or puffy. The swelling is often accompanied by tenderness and can make the hand or wrist feel warm to the touch.
  • Reduced range of motion: Difficulty fully bending or straightening the fingers, hand, or wrist due to joint stiffness and inflammation.
  • Weakness or difficulty gripping: Weakened grip strength and difficulty grasping or holding objects firmly. This can affect everyday tasks that require manual dexterity.
  • Joint deformities: In advanced cases of arthritis, the joints in the hand or wrist may become visibly enlarged, knobby, or deformed.
  • Numbness or tingling: Some individuals may experience numbness, tingling, or a pins-and-needles sensation in the hand or fingers due to nerve compression or inflammation.
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When is the right time to see a Chiropractor for Hand or Wrist Arthritis?

The right time to see a chiropractor for hand or wrist arthritis is when you begin experiencing symptoms that affect your daily activities and quality of life. If you notice persistent pain, stiffness, swelling, or reduced mobility in your hand or wrist, it may be a good idea to seek professional help.

Early intervention is often key in managing hand or wrist arthritis effectively. If you find that over-the-counter pain medications or home remedies are not providing sufficient relief, it could be beneficial to consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess your condition, provide an accurate diagnosis, and develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Additionally, if your symptoms worsen or if you experience difficulty performing tasks that require hand or wrist movements, it is advisable to seek professional care. Chiropractors have the expertise to offer various treatment modalities and techniques to alleviate pain, improve joint function, and enhance overall well-being.

Meet our Lead Chiropractor

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Chiropractor

Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Brett enjoys working with active individuals looking to reach the next level and also anyone who is trying to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.

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Physiotherapist Brittany Pereira working with client at Anchor Health and Performance Clinic Mississauga
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