By Frank Wilson, Published on May 10th, 2021
What is Arthrosis?
Pain in finger and wrist joints can often be caused by arthrosis. This is understood to be a natural wear and tear of the joints, i.e. the breakdown of the cartilage layer, which leads to functional limitations, swelling and joint pain. No wonder that the joints, especially in the hand and fingers, perform heavy work during the whole life.Basically, a distinction is made between primary and secondary arthrosis, whereby the cause of primary arthrosis is due to the normal aging of the body. Secondary arthrosis, on the other hand, is caused by various diseases such as osteoporosis, gout or rheumatoid arthritis, which is one of the most common rheumatoid-inflammatory joint diseases. A sports injury, such as when playing handball, or an accident can also be a concrete trigger for secondary arthrosis.
What Are The Symptoms?
The tricky thing is that osteoarthritis develops gradually, so that you often don’t notice it at first or only when the joint is under stress.
This is why it is also referred to as “silent arthrosis” in this context.
Only in the course of time do symptoms such as swelling appear.
In addition, the fingers are often stiff in the morning and it is difficult for the affected person to clench them into a fist.
Later on, the fingers can also hurt at rest or when moving.
If the joints are additionally reddened and overheated in phases, this is called “activated athrosis”.
If the finger end joints are affected by arthrosis, cystic thickening, so-called mucoid cysts, from which a gelatinous fluid can leak out, sometimes occur.
If the arthrosis is in a late stage, bony thickening occurs on the left and right side of the finger joints. In the case of saddle joint arthrosis of the thumb, the progressive wear and tear leads to loss of the joint cartilage. The result is a constant irritation, which usually leads to pain when performing everyday tasks such as lifting heavy objects.
Wrist arthrosis, on the other hand, often occurs as a result of bone fractures or rheumatism, making painless movement of the wrist no longer possible.
Higher Risk Of Disease In Women
Women are ten times more likely than men to suffer from osteoarthritis of the finger joints, which very often occurs during or after menopause. The cause is probably hormonal changes, but hereditary factors can also increase the risk of osteoarthritis of the fingers.
Any Pain In Your Fingers? A Diagnosis Provides Clarity
In most cases, a specialist in orthopaedics is the right contact person.
In an initial consultation, the doctor will first ask about the symptoms that have occurred and any family predispositions before checking the joints and their mobility.
As a rule, however, X-rays will be necessary, as this is the only way for the physician to identify typical joint changes. Occasionally, imaging procedures such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) are also used.
Treatment Of Finger And Wrist Arthrosis
The aim of therapy is always to relieve the symptoms and improve mobility. Furthermore, the progression of the disease should be slowed down. When the first symptoms appear, it is advisable to avoid incorrect strain and overexertion. Occupational therapists can also instruct patients on how to relieve the finger joints with simple aids. In the case of arthrosis of the thumb saddle joint, a splint can also be helpful.
In addition, a balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruit or little meat is advisable. If acute pain occurs, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medication can also help. Medicines that protect the cartilage, on the other hand, are usually only administered at an early stage.
And if none of this help? In some cases, surgery can be considered to stiffen the middle or end joints of the fingers, for example. Wrist arthrosis can also be treated surgically by stiffening the wrist. After a detailed diagnosis, the specialist will assess in each individual case which treatment will alleviate the symptoms and whether surgery is promising.