Arthritis of the Hand: Part 1

Arthritis of the hand can be very debilitating and can affect daily activities greatly. As mentioned in previous post’s, cartilage is basically the shock absorber of the joint. It provides a surface for the joints to glide over smoothly. Joints affected by arthritis have degenerative cartilage, which means it is slowly being worn away and damaged. Often joints will swell as the body attempts to make up for the lost cartilage, producing more fluid to try and act as a cushion. The causes of arthritis in the hand are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and trauma.

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Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is much more common and will generally affect older people. The onset of the symptoms is very gradual and the degeneration is the cartilage is quite slow. Osteoarthritis affects most people as they age, however not everyone gets the symptoms. Our bodies produce less and less of what is needed to maintain healthy joints as we age. General strain on the joints throughout lifetime only work against the pain, causing more degeneration. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that can be passed down genetically, and often will be found in many joints. It is commonly characterized by swollen disfigured joints.

Trauma

Arthritis can also be bought on by trauma. This basically means an incident has occured where the cartilage has been damaged. Fractures and dislocations are the most common injuries that lead to arthritis. This makes the joint seven times more likely to have arthritis in the future, even if it is treated well.

Part 2: Diagnosis and Symptoms

Part 3: Treatment and Recovery