Category : Arthritis

Arthritis Hand Osteoarthritis

Ask a Doctor: Osteoarthritis

Hand surgeon Khurram Pervaiz, MD answers your questions about osteoarthritis.

My doctor told me I have osteoarthritis. What is that?

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and involves wear and tear of the joint.  This form of arthritis is caused by inflammation, breakdown, and the eventual loss of cartilage in the joint – the cartilage wears down over time.

What causes osteoarthritis?

There are many reasons for osteoarthritis of a joint. The most common factors that lead to osteoarthritis are old age, genetics, weight and injury / trauma.

What are some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis affecting a joint can cause a variety of symptoms such as pain, stiffness (limited mobility), warmth, and swelling. There may be a grating feeling (or crepitus) with movement of the joint.

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Arthritis Hand Rheumatoid Arthritis

Random Fact – Rheumatoid Arthritis

Did you know? People in manufacturing jobs may have a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Learn more about how rheumatoid arthritis is different from other types of arthritis.

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Arthritis Hand Hand Therapy Thumb Thumb Arthritis

Ask a Therapist: Thumb Arthritis

Certified Hand Therapist Michelle McMurray, MOT, OTR/L, CHT discusses thumb arthritis, also known as basal joint arthritis.


Basal joint arthritis, or thumb arthritis, is the most common site of arthritis in the hand.  This may also be referred to as the CMC (carpometacarpal) joint.  Pain typically occurs at the base of the thumb where the hand meets the wrist.  People typically report pain and weakness with grasping or pinching activities. Most people do not realize how important this particular joint is to the function of the hand until it hurts.  The amount of force transmitted through the CMC joint holding a 1-pound object at the tip is amplified to over 13 pounds at the CMC joint.  Basic activities of daily living can require between 6 and 8 pounds of pinch at the tip of the thumb, which would be amplified more than 10 times that at the base of the thumb!  Over time, this can cause break-down of the joint with loss of cartilage (the smooth part of the joint) and inflammation.  This is sometimes a painful process.

When this occurs in the body, what options do we have to feel better?  Most people do not choose surgery as their first option, and it is often not recommended as the first option.  Initial options may include injections, splinting, medications and/or rest.  Additionally, there are modifications that can be made to our daily activities which may also help to decrease the pain.

Here are a few examples of some easy and inexpensive ways to protect your hands to decrease the stress and inflammation at your thumb:

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Arthritis Hand Joints MP Joint Arthritis

Ask a Doctor: MP Joint Arthritis

Dr. David J. Bozentka answers your questions about MP joint arthritis.

What is the MP joint?

Figure 1

The metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint is the large knuckle joint located where the fingers and thumb meet the hand (Figure 1).  The metacarpal bones lie within the palm and the phalanges lie within the digits.    The metacarpal head, or ball part of the MP joint, meets with the proximal phalanx which makes up the socket part of the joint.  The bones on each side of the joint have a cartilage surface that allows smooth gliding.  Multiple tendons cross this joint.  Flexor tendons and small additional tendons in the hand promote flexion, or bending.  The extensor tendons promote extension, or straightening, of the joint.  A collateral ligament on each side of the joint provides stability for a pinching motion.  The bones, ligaments, and tendons of the MP joint allow motion and stability for optimal hand function.

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Arthritis Hand Stiff Hands

5 Potential Causes of Stiff Hands

Stiff Hands

We use our hands for nearly everything. When stiff hands come about, it prevents us from doing daily activities that we take for granted. If a hand becomes stiff, it can be a variety of issues, some more serious than others. Here are five potential causes of stiff hands:

  1. Arthritis: There are many different types of arthritis that can affect the hands, including thumb arthritis, MP joint arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  2. Fractures: A hand fracture is a medical term for a broken hand. Even if you can still move the hand, it may be broken.
  3. Dislocations: Any upper extremity dislocation can cause hands to feel stiff.
  4. Bad sprains: A thumb sprain is an example of an injury that could cause stiffness.
  5. Tendon and muscle injuries: Extensor tendon injuries can happen due to an injury or even a cut on the hand. Flexor tendon injuries can happen from a deep cut.
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Arthritis Hand Thumb Thumb Arthritis

How to Treat Thumb Arthritis

Closeup on young housewife opening jar of pickled cucumbers

Thumb arthritis can cause you to feel pain and weakness when you try to pinch things (with your thumb and index finger) and also when you try to grasp objects. It can be painful opening jars, turning doorknobs or keys, and sometimes writing. This condition is genetic. Just like gray hair, it comes on with age; however, women tend to have thumb arthritis more often than men. With some families, it can show up at a younger age.

Like other types of arthritis, this condition is due to the thinning of cartilage, which covers our joints. Without this cartilage, the joints cannot allow the bones to move as smoothly as they normally would, which causes pain.

Because thumb arthritis is typically part of the aging process, treatment can sometimes be unnecessary. To ease the pain, the follow treatments are sometimes used:

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Arthritis Food Hand

Can salt cause arthritis?

food, junk-food, cooking and unhealthy eating concept - close up of white salt cellar on wooden table

from The Paper

There’s a salt epidemic going on – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American ingests up to double the recommended sodium intake every day. Not only is this bad news for those with high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease, but one local bone expert points out that too much salt can also exacerbate the most common hand issue Americans face: arthritis.

Currently, approximately twenty percent of the U.S. population suffers from arthritis – that’s more than 52 million people. Dr. Mark Ciaglia, the preeminent hand surgeon and owner of Woodlands Center for Special Surgery, has noted a trend in arthritis hitting younger age groups, thanks in large part to repetitive motion injuries caused by activities such as video gaming or intense school-level sports.

“People, depending on their health, should take in between 1500 to 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day; yet the average person eats about 3,400,” said Ciaglia. He points out a couple of reasons why this can lead to arthritis and other hand issues.

Read the full story.

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Arthritis Hand Joints

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Protecting Your Joints

Closeup on young housewife opening jar of pickled cucumbers

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month! What better time to revisit and elaborate on a topic we started back in August 2015: Living with(out) thumb pain. In that post, we briefly discussed something called “joint protection,” and specifically discussed ways to protect your thumb and fingers when opening jars. For this edition, we’ll answer a few more questions and offer a few more tips.

The joints in my fingers are achy and feel swollen and stiff. I especially notice this after I’ve been working in the yard or doing household chores like vacuuming. My doctor says it is osteoarthritis. Is there anything I can do to make them feel better?

If your doctor has said you have osteoarthritis, you should consider this an early warning alarm.  You have a degenerative process happening within the joints. You need to do something to keep that from getting worse. This is where joint protection comes into play.

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