Category : Joints

Hand Surgery Joint Pain Joint Replacement Joints

What is Joint Replacement Surgery?

Joint replacement surgery is a procedure in which bone and structures that line the joint are removed and replaced with new parts. This procedure is necessary when the articular cartilage (the substance on the surface of a bone) wears out or is damaged, which means the bones will no longer glide smoothly against one another. It may also stem from abnormal joint fluid.

The new parts may be made of metal, plastic, or materials that are carbon-coated. They allow the joints to move again without pain, increase range of motion, and can improve the look of the joints. Finger joints, knuckle joints, and wrist joints are commonly replaced.

After joint replacement surgery, you will most likely work with a hand therapist and could possibly wear a splint. However, with this procedure, there are always risks. There could be an infection, or the implant could fail, causing more joint pain. The implant could also wear out over time, resulting in the need for another surgery. In addition, vessels, nerves or other structures near the surgery site could be damaged. Talk to your doctor about the risks of joint replacement surgery before agreeing to the procedure.

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Anatomy Bones Joints Wrist

Anatomy 101: Wrist Joints

The wrist joints lie between the many different bones in the wrist and forearm. Many wrist injuries (such as fractures, also known as a broken bone) involve the joint surface. There are three joints in the wrist:

  1. Radiocarpal joint: This joint is where the radius, one of the forearm bones, joins with the first row of wrist bones (scaphoid, lunate, and triquetrum).
  2. Ulnocarpal joint: This joint is where the ulna, one of the forearm bones, joins with the lunate and triquetrum wrist bones. This joint is commonly injured when you sprain your wrist. Some people are born with (or develop) an ulna that is longer than the radius, which can cause stress and pain on the joint, known as ulnocarpal abutment (impaction) syndrome.
  3. Distal radioulnar joint: This joint is where the two forearm bones connect. Pain with this joint can sometimes be a challenging problem to treat.

Learn more about the joints of the wrist and also the bones of the wrist in our Anatomy section. You can also visit www.HandCare.org for information on conditions and injuries of the hand, wrist, arm and shoulder.

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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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Hand Therapy Joint Pain Joints

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Techniques to Reduce Joint Pain

For this post, we are sharing a video that demonstrates many techniques you can use on a daily basis to protect your joints. In past posts, we’ve discussed joint protection and gave some examples and illustrations of this. (See Protecting Your Joints and Living With(out) Thumb Pain.)

The video below shows some of those examples in action. The video has no sound, so don’t worry about turning up the volume. As you watch, you will be given some practical pointers. There are some questions in the video, so put on your thinking cap and see what ideas you come up with to take care of your joints.

After watching the video, you may have questions about specific activities and how to make changes to decrease your joint pain. Talking to a certified hand therapist can help you apply these principles to your specific activities, which can help you to keep doing what you want in life.

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Finger Hand Joints Knuckles

News Story: Knuckle-cracking is actually good for you

Hand Massage. Pain in the finger joints. Arthralgia

from CNN

(CNN) – For the past 15 years, Tanya Johnson has been driving her boss nuts.

It’s not her job skills — Dr. Robert Szabo says Johnson is an excellent nurse — but rather her incessant knuckle-cracking that makes him want to strangle her.

“I kept telling her to stop, that it was bad for her,” Szabo said.

You’d think Johnson might have listened, given that Szabo is a hand surgeon at the UC Davis Medical Center and former president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

But she just kept right on cracking.

“I told him, ‘Prove that it’s bad,’ ” she said.

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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Finger Hand Joint Replacement Joints

What is a finger joint replacement?

a man rubs the pain in his finger

from The Baltimore Sun

Dr. Ryan M. Zimmerman, MD discusses what causes finger joints to wear out and when a joint replacement is necessary.

The tiniest joints of the fingers can break down over time and, in some people, need to be replaced. The wear and tear can cause unbearable pain and stiffness. Dr. Ryan M. Zimmerman, a hand, shoulder and elbow surgeon at the Curtis National Hand Center at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, said replacement can provide much-needed relief for patients.

What causes finger joints to wear out?

Finger joints can wear out for a number of reasons. Osteoarthritis, which is primary wear and tear, is the most common. Inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are also common. Finally, after trauma, joints can have residual irregularities that cause them to wear out more rapidly. Contrary to popular belief, repetitive activities such as typing have not been linked to arthritis.

Can all joints in the hand be replaced?

Many joints in the hand are candidates for joint replacement, but others are best treated with different kinds of surgery. The metacarpophalangeal joints, what people think of as their “knuckles,” that connect the finger to the palm and the joints just past those, are the best candidates for replacement. The joint at the base of the thumb, by far the most common place for people to develop arthritis, is best treated with a different kind of joint replacement surgery for patients who don’t get adequate relief from splints or injections. Also, the joints at the fingertips are best treated with a different type of surgery because they are too small for formal replacements.

Read the full story.

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Hand Hand Therapy Joints

5 activities that hurt your joints

Hand Deformed From Rheumatoid Arthritis. Studio shot. Pain condition. In red

Certified hand therapist Michelle McMurray, MOT, OTR/L, CHT discusses how you can save your joints while performing daily activities.


Sometimes it is our small, every day activities in our daily routines that we overlook.  As we get busy with our daily lives, sometimes we are not aware of the little things that we do that can ultimately add up to big problems.  We hear about many things that we can do to protect our joints, but in the business of daily lives we forget about ourselves…and our joints.

Here are some examples of some basic tasks we do all the time that can eventually lead to bigger problems:

1. Cleaning

When scrubbing carpet to remove a stain, it is very common that we pinch the cloth and apply pressure.  A big problem that can occur if you happen to quickly catch the end of your finger is a mallet finger.  This is an injury that leaves a droop at the end of the finger. The rehab process can be long and tedious. The easiest way to avoid this is to grip the rag with a fist or use a brush with a handle.

2. Writing

With technology, we do not write as much as we did in the past.  In that case, we are sometimes hurried when doing this activity, which may lead to increased pressure and gripping on the writing utensil.  One thing that can help to decrease the pressure on the thumb is increasing the diameter of the pen/pencil.

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