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 Hand Therapy Mirror Therapy Pain

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Mirror Therapy for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain that does not respond to conventional treatment can be frustrating for both the person with the pain and the team of people trying to help alleviate the pain. You may have heard of mirror therapy, but are unsure of what it is or who can benefit. To answer these questions, I consulted Susan Stralka, PT, DPT, MS. Susan has many years of experience treating patients with chronic pain and has lectured around the world on this topic.

What is mirror therapy?

Mirror therapy is a rehabilitation technique that uses the mirror image of a non-painful limb to retrain the brain about its perception of a painful limb. The non-painful limb (such as a hand or foot) is placed in front of a mirror and the painful limb is placed behind the mirror out of sight.

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Hand Hand Surgeon Hand Surgery Leprosy

The Art of Surgery: Life Drawing and Leprosy

from The Guardian

“Life drawing”, “still life” and “life class” are all fairly mundane terms I thought only applied to nude figures or fruit bowls in an art studio. However, in November, I stood and drew in the corner of a plastic surgeon’s theatre in Lalgadh hospital, near Janakpur in Nepal. The theatre was set up to operate on the paralysed hands of leprosy patients. “Life drawing” became very appropriate very quickly.

Like many infectious diseases that predominantly affect those in poverty, leprosy is alive and well; there were more than 200,000 new cases were reported in 2015. The sad fact is that the disease is difficult to contract and relatively straightforward to treat. Many patients present late, when paralysis sets in. Although medication can make patients non-infective, the paralysis requires surgery to correct.

Each year, Working Hands – a Bristol-based charity run by hand surgeon Donald Sammut – spends two weeks, pro bono, operating on the backlog of patients in Lalgadh, training staff and providing hundreds of kilos of medical equipment and consumables. The work is highly skilled, but in many cases the objective is simple: to generate enough movement and power in a hand for the patient to go back to work, or to eat, or to look after themselves in a society where stigma is attached to those with the disease. Most of these patients are illiterate farmers whose only means of support depends on how much they can dig, or carry.

Read the full story.

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Bacteria Finger Hand Hand Infection

11 Types of Hand Infections

Hand infections can cause serious problems and symptoms, both before and after the infection is resolved. They can result in stiff hands, weak hands, and loss of tissues such as skin, nerve and bone.  It is important to visit a hand surgeon immediately and get early treatment if you have signs of one of these hand infections:

1. Atypical Mycobacterial Infection: This infection can result from puncture wounds from fish spines or contamination of a wound or cut from stagnant water (in nature or from aquariums). It will come on gradually, and you may feel stiffness and swelling.

2. Bite Wound Infection: This can be caused by a human or animal bite due to bacteria in the mouth. Seek treatment immediately after a bite wound.

3. Cellulitis: This is a skin infection that can cause skin redness, warmth, and pain. People with cellulitis may have a fever or feel sick. Seek treatment immediately, as this infection can cause serious problems.

4. Deep Space Infection: One of the compartments or “deep spaces” of the hand can become infected even from a small puncture. A pocket of puss may form at the base of the thumb, on the palm, or between the fingers.

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Arthroscopy Hand Hand Surgeon Hand Surgery

What is Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that allows a surgeon to look inside your joint by inserting a small tool (about the width of a pencil) into a small cut. You will be under general or regional anesthesia during this surgery. A fiberoptic camera will be inserted into the joint, and the video will be projected on a screen for the surgeon to view. The surgeon may make several small cuts around your elbow to see different areas.

Knee and shoulder arthroscopy are common procedures, but arthroscopy can also be used for both the elbow and wrist. The wrist is the third most common joint to undergo arthroscopy.

Wrist Arthroscopy

This procedure may be performed on the wrist if you are experiencing pain, a clicking noise or swelling. These symptoms usually arise from an injury and usually mean there is an internal problem with the wrist.

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Anatomy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Hand

Video: The Anatomy of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Carpal tunnel syndrome
is a common condition affecting the hands. Patients typically say that they wake up at night with a feeling of pins and needles in their fingers, like their hand is asleep. They commonly shake their hands out to relive the symptoms. As the problem progresses, their hands will go numb when they drive, talk on the phone, or do their hair. As the problem becomes more severe, they will eventually report constant numbness in their fingers.

All of the nerves that go to the hand originate from the spinal cord at the neck level. The median nerve goes down the arm and crosses the wrist under a ligament called the transverse carpal ligament. This nerve then gives sensation to the thumb, index and long finger, as well as half the ring finger. Watch this 2-minute animation to learn more about how carpal tunnel affects your hand.

You can also read more about carpal tunnel on our website, www.HandCare.org.

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Hand Medication Opioids Pain

Random Fact: Opioids

Did you know? Opioids are a type of pain medication made from the poppy that is used to make opium and heroin. Learn more about how to use opioids safely.

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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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