Diagnosing and Treating Finger Arthritis

What is Arthritis?

Many people have misconceptions about Arthritis. Arthritis is actually not one single disease. There are over one-hundred different types of arthritis or joint pain related conditions. It is an easier way to refer to a joint disease or overall joint pain. Anyone can get arthritis, regardless of age or gender, but women are more susceptible. The most common age to get arthritis is generally between 40-65 years of age. Arthritis can affect any joint in your body, including your fingers. Therefore, finger arthritis is severe inflammation of the joints inside your fingers. There is no known cure for Arthritis, but there are long-term treatments to manage the symptoms.

Symptoms of Arthritis include:

  • Carpel Tunnel Symptoms, such as numbness or tingling in hands
  • Fatigue
  • Pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Joints that are warm or tender to the touch
  • Pain and stiffness that lasts longer than one hour

How is Arthritis Diagnosed?

Arthritis can usually be diagnosed by your primary care physician. They can perform different tests, including blood tests, a physical exam or imaging scans, such as MRI’s or CAT scans. Imaging tests are often performed to determine what type of arthritis you may have or to determine how severe it is. If your Arthritis is inflammatory, you will most likely be sent to a Rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in Arthritis.) Rheumatologist’s help patients manage Arthritis pain and other related cases, like gout.

With finger Arthritis, your doctor will conduct a physical exam first. They will touch and push on points in your hands and fingers, looking for any tenderness or inflammation. Depending on the situation, they may also order blood or imaging tests.

What are the Most Common Types of Arthritis?

  • Inflammatory Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common type of Inflammatory Arthritis. Inflammatory Arthritis arises when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body. This can lead to inflammation, potentially causing damage to other vital parts of your body, such as internal organs. Researchers concluded that autoimmunity can be triggered by genetics or environmental factors, such as smoking or exposure to pollutants. When your body is at risk, early diagnosis is crucial. The earlier you can catch the disease, the easier it will be to slow down damage to your joints.
  • Degenerative Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common form of Degenerative Arthritis. This type of Arthritis is brought on when your cartilage (your cushioning on the end of your bones and joints) wears down. This leads to your bones and joints rubbing against each other, causing friction, pain, and inflammation. Over time, this can cause your joints to lose strength, resulting in severe pain. Degenerative Arthritis can be triggered due to being overweight, certain injuries and family history.
  • Septic Arthritis: Septic Arthritis can come about by a virus or bacteria entering your joints. This will trigger inflammation. Some of these contaminants include Hepatitis C, sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia, and Salmonella. Septic arthritis will show different signs than typical arthritis, including chills, a fever, inability to move the infected joint, fatigue and warmth near the joint.

How Can I Treat My Arthritis?

  • Inflammatory Arthritis: Inflammatory Arthritis can be treated with a medication called Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs, or DMARD’s. With this treatment, your pain will be reduced and you can prevent further joint damage. You can also manage your symptoms with:
    • Corticosteroids
    • Biologics
    • JAK Inhibitors
  • Degenerative Arthritis: When your disease has not become chronic, there are many ways you can manage your pain, including:
    • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as NSAID’s
    • Stretching
    • Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Corticosteroids and Hyaluronic Acid
    • Losing weight if you are overweight
    • Physical activity on a regular basis
    • Assistive Devices, such as canes, scooters, and splints
    • Cold and hot therapies
    • Physical Therapy
    • If your disease has become chronic, first, try some of the management ways above. If they do not help you, joint replacement surgery may be necessary.
  • Septic Arthritis: In most cases, getting a round of antibiotics in time will rid your joint pain, along with a draining of synovial fluid. In some cases, if you are not timely, the joint pain can become severe or permanent.

How Can I Relieve My Finger Arthritis?

The 3-Point Ring Splint

  1. Exercising your hands with a foam ball. Squeeze the ball, then relax your hand muscles.
  2. Add accessories to your door handles to assist you in turning them.
  3. Purchase or use lightweight household materials.
  4. Place padding around your writing utensils.
  5. Vary between ice and hot packs to relieve joint pain.
  6. Using finger splints, such as the Acu-Life.
  7. Using ring splints, such as the 3-Point.
  8. If necessary, surgery to replace or fix your wounded joint.

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