What is arthritis?

Arthritis is the wear and tear suffered by the joints that can come about due to multiple factors, such as:
● Genetic inheritance
● Repetitive tasks or actions throughout a lifetime that jeopardize joint movement
● Previous fractures or trauma

What are the symptoms?
Pain, stiffness, deformity in the finger joints, most frequently on the fingertips, which could lead to loss of proper hand functioning.
How to treat arthritis?
Surgery would be the last option, so less invasive treatment is recommended and could be more effective, for example physical therapy, braces or medication. The purpose of these treatments is to relieve pain in the joints and also prevent the loss of movement.

● Physical therapy: combining hot and cold therapy helps relieve pain and joint swelling (oedema).

● Medication: for initial containment of arthritis, painkillers are first prescribed and then anti-inflammatories.

● Braces: they help rest the joint. At this point in time, hand therapists will play an important role when it comes to teaching their patients key exercises to protect the joints and strengthen the muscles, this will help stabilize the joints and correct gripping and holding positions.

● Infiltrations: help relieve pain and joint swelling (oedema), it’s recommended to use this procedure after trying the previously mentioned methods (physical therapy, medication and braces). Nowadays, infiltrations are guided by ultrasound which assures the medication is applied directly to the joint, guaranteeing better results. It’s important to note that using steroids and lidocaine is not completely harmless and should be used wisely, as they improve pain and swelling, they will also deteriorate the cartilage. Hence why they should not be the first treatment option.

If after the previously mentioned treatments the arthritis symptoms don’t improve, the surgical intervention option can be contemplated, this treatment would also relieve pain.

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