Joint Replacements for the Hand

By Deatra Clark, OT

Joint Replacements for the Hand

Alfred Swanson M.D. first developed joint replacements for the hand in 1962. This procedure is most common for patients with rheumatoid arthritis but can also be helpful with a degenerative process or post-traumatic injury. A silicone implant is used that is a flexible hinge that acts as a spacer in the joint.

The procedure is described as a bone resection + implant + encapsulation = joint function. The surgeon removes the joint’s diseased bone, inserts the implant, and reconstructs the ligaments and tendons around the joint, and the body builds scar around the implant. The implant has received wide acceptance as the preferred method for the reconstruction of finger joints.

Joint Replacements for the Hand

Hand pain affects everyday activities

As humans, we put many demands on the joints of our hands. We need stability to hold onto our hairbrush, we need mobility to tie our shoes, and we don’t want to live in daily pain. Joint replacements for the hand can provide both the stability and mobility needed for daily function and be pain-free.

The rehabilitation process for both the MP and the hand’s PIP joints can take up to three months. The patient wears a dynamic splint on the hand for eight to ten weeks. A dynamic splint is a splint that has moving parts that allow the joint to be able to exercise hourly. A static or still splint is provided for night use. Occupational therapy works with the patient to balance the replaced joint of stability and mobility through splinting and exercise.

What Happens After Joint Replacement?

Following a joint replacement education in joint protection techniques is critical. Joint protection can also help prevent needing a joint replacement. These techniques include:

  1. Maintaining muscle strength and joint range of motion.
  2. Working to avoid positions of deformity.
  3. Always use the strongest joint for the job.
  4. Avoid holding your hands in the same position for a long time.

JOI Rehab

Whether you are suffering from hand issues, joint pain, or injuries resulting from any activity, JOI has 12 physical therapy clinics conveniently located in Jacksonville and Northeast FL who specialize in orthopedic rehab.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call (904) 858-7045. Come see us!

  • To schedule an appointment for physical or occupational therapy, call 904-858-7045 or call any of the 12 area JOI Rehab Centers.

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By: Deatra Clark, OTR/L, CHT

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