Arthritis of the Hand: Part 2

Diagnosis

Arthritis of the hand can be diagnosed by examining the hand and by taking x-rays. If the x-ray is normal, sometimes a bone scan can help the doctor diagnose the arthritis in its early stage.

Arthroscopy is another way to diagnose arthritis. This is a very invasive procedure and shouldn’t be used for diagnosis routinely. A small camera is inserted into the joint in order to look inside. It provides the clearest picture of the joint, and can be used to assess the damage, and often to do some small clean up of the cartilage if needed.

Symptoms

Pain is an obvious symptom of arthritis in the hand. Early on this pain may feel quite dull. It will often come on after extended periods of joint us. It may even be evident a few hours after. Typically there is morning pain and stiffness. This pain can and will usually progress.

Swelling
is another common symptom. As mentioned in the previous post your body tries to compensate for the degeneration in the cartilage and produces more synovial fluid to act as a cushion. This causes the joint to swell and to generally results in a poorer range of motion.

The joint will generally feel warmer. This is mainly due to the bodies inflammatory response.

Crepitation
is the sense of grinding or grating. This is commonly felt in the affected joint. The damaged cartilage is no longer a smooth gliding surface.

Cysts
may develop in the end joints of the fingers if they are affected by the arthritis.

Arthritis of the Hand: Part 1

Arthritis of the Hand: Part 3