Osteoarthrosis of the hands symptomatology and treatment

The hands perform the most important functions in the body of any person; if you can’t take a spoon on your own, turn a page or fasten buttons on a jacket, this becomes a real tragedy – it is this situation that leads to osteoarthritis of the hands, ignored in the early stages. Feeling helpless is a direct road to irritation and depression. Therefore, doctors insist that the treatment of osteoarthritis of the small joints of the hands should begin at its first manifestations.

A bit about the causes of the disease

The bulk of the osteoarthritis of the fingers is characteristic of people aged. He suffers from a population that has crossed a forty-year milestone. However, not everything is universal: many avoid a sad diagnosis. Doctors were able to identify factors contributing to the origin and development of this joint disease:

  • hormonal disruptions. They are inevitable in women who have entered the menopause. Therefore, osteoarthritis of the small joints of the hands is more common in women with menopause than in men of the same age. They should be vigilant;
  • surgical intervention associated with injuries of the hands, even if it took place 10-20 years ago. Injuries suffered in the past and treated without surgery, also contribute to the development of osteoarthritis of the fingers;
  • endocrine diseases (primarily diabetes mellitus);
  • circulatory problems affecting the hands (not just the hands: the process can spread from the shoulders);
  • osteoarthritis of the fingers may begin due to specific working conditions. Microtraumas accompanying permanent work on a computer or loom have a bad effect on cartilage;
  • congenital pathologies of the corresponding parts of the body.

Even an unbalanced diet can provoke osteoarthritis of the interphalangeal joints of the hands or bring closer the moment of its development. An impaired metabolism can also be safely included in the sad list: if collagen is produced in insufficient quantities, the joints will definitely become worthless in the foreseeable future.

But most patients are still elderly people who have accumulated numerous problems with the functionality of the body as a whole, and the cartilage tissue simply wears out from long operation.

What to look for

What is positive in osteoarthritis (if something can be liked in diseases in general) is its gradual development. It is impossible not to notice the appearance of joint problems, the main thing here is not to persuade yourself in the style of “everything will pass by itself.” Indeed, the treatment of osteoarthritis of the fingers is the more successful the earlier it is started. Doctors distinguish three stages of its progression.

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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initial stage

Joint pains are periodic, infrequent. It is clearly felt during physical exertion of the hands, for example, when clenching fists and lifting weights. Many patients experience a barely audible crunch from the joints.

This symptomatology is characteristic of several diseases, and it is difficult to clarify the diagnosis and make sure that you have osteoarthritis of the hands. But at this stage, treatment allows you to prevent further degradation of the joints. Therefore, you need to go to the doctor at the first sign of discomfort.

The second stage

On it, pains occur more often and take on a more acute character. In the mornings, the sensations are very intense, masked, gradually subsiding towards the middle of the day, until they disappear completely. By evening, as fatigue accumulates, soreness will return, it will be accompanied closer to evening by inflammation, redness of the skin around the affected area, swelling or swelling.

If you “caught” osteoarthritis of the hands at this stage, the treatment will still be effective, and you will not remain helpless. Although the process will take much more time, and the full working capacity of the fingers is unlikely to be restored. Careful attention should be paid to the middle finger phalanges – they suffer more often than others. Pathology in the joint of the thumb is almost as common.

Heavy case

A neglected disease leads to a complete loss of the ability to fine motor skills. A patient who is unconcerned about his hands cannot make simple movements and depends on those around him. Heberden nodules form on the uppermost phalanges, on the middle phalanges – similar seals named after Bouchard. Both varieties are formed “outside”, that is, on the back of the hand, are very painful (even with light touches) and severely limit the motor ability of the hand. The joints and the area around them blush noticeably, there may be a local temperature increase in the affected areas. The fingers themselves acquire an unnatural bend to the side, often lengthened in comparison with a healthy state, although slightly.

Fortunately, people rarely bring themselves to such an extensive defeat. The pain and decreased performance of the fingers make them consult a doctor at the latest – in the second stage of osteoarthritis.

For your information:

Accurately diagnose osteoarthritis of the interphalangeal joints of the hands can only be done using radiography. One biochemical blood test is not enough: inflammation does not cause an acceleration of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which is characteristic of other joint diseases of a similar nature. If you notice thickening on the joints, suffer from morning pain in these areas, note a decrease in finger mobility, ask for an X-ray, insist on an orthopedic consultation: the local therapist rarely understands such nuances.

Features of treatment

The course of therapy and the treatment regimen are always determined by a specialist: osteoarthritis of the hands and effects on it depend on the patient’s health status, chronic diseases, causes of joint problems, stage of the disease and a whole set of other factors.

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    anti-inflammatory drugs. Nonstero >

These are the main directions. Corticosteroids administered intraarticularly may join them. These drugs do not affect the treatment of osteoarthritis, but they perfectly stop the pain and help to quickly eliminate inflammation. This step is relevant if the pain is very pronounced, even intolerance.

The doctor may recommend related drugs: gel, ointment, solution for compresses. Their effectiveness is not too great, since the skin hardly passes foreign substances (or those considered such) into the body. But as concomitant therapy, external means should not be neglected.

Not just medicines

Medications eliminate symptoms, reduce pain and inflammation, but alone they will not be able to cope with their task soon. In the treatment of osteoarthritis of the fingers, physiotherapeutic techniques are very important. Recommended Procedures:

  • electrophoresis: it avoids complications, allows the patient to carry out procedures at home (after detailed consultations and doctor’s recommendations). There is the possibility of not only improving metabolism and blood circulation in the affected joint, but also delivering a mass of drugs into it – from novocaine, zinc and sulfur to dimexide with analgin;
  • laser – its effect can be obtained only in the physiotherapy room. But the apparatus removes the reflex spasm of muscles, normalizes the permeability of cell membranes, stimulates tissue respiration, metabolism. The only limitation is that this technique is not applicable in a relapse period; you will have to wait for a stable remission;
  • cryotherapy. Cold applications on the affected joint become a real salvation when the treatment of finger osteoarthritis is limited to exacerbation of diseases. Their use stops the development of irritation in the joint bag, relieves swelling, facilitates treatment at the end of relapse.

UHF and magnetotherapy also give good results, effective techniques provided by traditional medicine are effective. But in the latter case, coordination with the attending physician is required: “healers” approaches may conflict with the main course of treatment.

About the benefits of physiotherapy

A lot of patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the hands try to protect the limbs from any stress. On the one hand, the approach is correct – they should avoid lifting and carrying weights, manually unscrewing laundry (the presence of an automatic washing machine saved us from such exercises), push-ups and other excessive efforts on the hands. Excessive caution, on the other hand, can also hurt. After all, the joints are surrounded by muscles, and if the muscles are atrophied, then the joints take on the impact for which they are not prepared by nature.

Therefore, physiotherapy exercises should be a mandatory daily procedure. The most primitive actions – careful turns of the fingers, warming up the brush with the other hand, squeezing-unclenching the rubber expander – will prevent irreversible effects in your joints.

If you mechanically give 25 years of age a little purely physical, without the participation of the mind, attention to such exercises, you will never know what osteoarthritis of the small joints of the hands is.

About nutrition

To restore already deformed cartilage tissue in the joints is usually not possible. But the degradation process can be stopped. And the corrected menu will help in this. It will also prevent (in combination with moderate stress and compliance with medical prescriptions) another relapse.

Recommendations to say goodbye to overweight will not please anyone. But if there is no desire in the literal sense of the word to be armless, you still follow them. Extra pounds actively contribute to the development of osteoarthritis of the fingers (and not only them, the human body has enough vulnerable joints). For people with cartilage problems, doctors strongly recommend increasing the dose of dairy products in the diet: this is the most natural source of calcium in the form most absorbed by the body. Ladies over 50 should drink milk in liters, and cottage cheese is kilograms – it is useful for well-being, and for bones, and for cartilage.

It is also foolish to refuse meat, even in the name of a figure. It contains a mass of protein, without which the body – nothing. Only need to take lean slices. And for the side dish it is absolutely necessary to serve buckwheat or lentils – this is the true treasury of trace elements!

Jelly is especially useful for joints. It should be used not only on holidays. It will not be superfluous to heed the recommendations of nutritionists and refuse an excess of sugar, tomatoes, black pepper, yolks – they are frankly harmful in osteoarthritis. Vigilance and moderation – this is what should become the motto of every person with osteoarthritis of the interphalangeal joints of the hands.

Shishkevich Vladimir

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews. It specializes in the treatment of diseases in orthopedic, traumatological, vertebrological profiles