Hand Arthritis

By: Ehren Allen, PT, COMT

To read more about exercises that you can do for hand arthritis, please read this article: 4 top hand exercises for arthritis

Hand Arthritis JOIHand Arthritis

The hand is a useful and vital part of life as we know it.  Imagine trying to eat, text, type, or work without hands. The intricacies of finger and wrist movements are part of what differentiates us from less evolved species.  

The hand is made up of 27 bones which work together with a vast network of ligaments, tendons, and muscles to allow the functions of our daily life.  Many of the muscles which move the wrist and hand originate up in the forearm, while some smaller movements are controlled by tiny muscles in the hand.  
Pain or an injury in any muscle or tendon structure may cause a dysfunction with hand movements.

How do you know if you have arthritis in your hands?

The quick answer is you should be evaluated by a physician to determine if you have hand arthritis.  Arthritis is inflammation in a joint between 2 bones.  Joints allow movement between bones, so arthritis can limit movement.  Arthritis in the hand may limit the ability of the digits to grip or function.  
Typically, arthritis in the had causes pain and weakness.  As arthritis worsens, the joints of the hand may change shape and develop a deformity.  

The most common type of arthritis in the hand is osteoarthritis.  Osteoarthritis(OA) is inflammation with wear and tear in the joint.  This may occur with overuse or a history of trauma to the hand.  A physician will diagnose you with OA hand arthritis with the use of an x-ray and a complete evaluation of your hand. 

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic disease in which the body attacks it self.  This can occur inside a joint. When RA attacks a joint, the joint becomes inflamed and painful.  Blood work is performed to determine the presence of RA.

To learn more about the anatomy of the hand, please watch this video. 

Hand Arthritis JOIHand Arthritis

Hand Pain Really Can't Wait

If you have hand pain, you really should not wait to see the doctor.  Relief from hand pain starts with giving JOI a call at JOI-2000.  You need to be properly evaluated to begin the proper treatment program.  To find out more, please go to: hand pain cant wait.

What are the early signs of hand arthritis?

Early signs and symptoms of hand and thumb arthritis in the hands may include:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • limited movement or Range of Motion
  • unable to open a jar
  • texting thumb pain

image of hand arthritisImage of hand arthritis

What is the best treatment for arthritis in the hands?

Arthritis is an inflammatory issue in the joints.  Hand arthritis can be very painful.  Anti-inflammatory medications may help.  Moist heat or paraffin bath can be helpful to calm painful symptoms.  Limiting hand movements and grip activity can help to decreased pain temporarily.  Gentle ROM and strength exercises may help to improve the function and maintain mobility.

To schedule an appointment with a JOI Rehab hand therapist, please call 904-858-7045.  There are 12 Physical Therapy locations in the Northeast Florida Area. 

If you are concerned about arthritis in the hands, the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute can help.  To schedule an appointment with an Orthopaedic Hand Specialist, please call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online or click below.



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