Arthritis is a common, painful condition that affects millions of people all over the world. One of the most common places to experience arthritis is in the hands. Because we use our hands for just about everything we do, arthritis in the hand can have a big impact on our quality of life, making it difficult to perform even the simplest of tasks without pain. 

It’s important to identify the signs of arthritis in the hands as soon as possible so that you can get proper treatment as early as possible. In this article, we’ll talk about the common signs of arthritis in the hand and how you can find treatment to relieve the painful symptoms of arthritis. 

What is arthritis of the hand?

Arthritis is a degenerative disease affecting the body’s joints. There are several forms of arthritis that can affect the hands, each with different causes. The main types of arthritis seen in the hands are: 

  • Osteoarthritis: Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis typically develops as a result of wear and tear on the joints over time. The cartilage that cushions the ends of bones gradually breaks down, leading to joint friction, pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis can affect the finger joints closest to the fingertips, the base of the thumb, and the wrist.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own joints. This condition mostly affects the small joints, including those in the hands and wrists. It can lead to joint deformities, intense pain, swelling, and reduced grip strength.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in individuals with psoriasis, a chronic skin condition. It can affect several joints in the body, including those in the hands. Psoriatic arthritis causes joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and sometimes visible changes to the nails.

What are the main signs of arthritis of the hand?

Generally, arthritis in the hands presents with the following signs: 

  • Joint pain: Aching, throbbing, or sharp pain in the affected joints are common signs of arthritis in the hands. The pain can be persistent or occur during certain movements, like gripping a pen or opening a jar.
  • Stiffness: Arthritis often causes stiffness in the hands, particularly in the morning or if you haven’t used your hands for a while. Stiff joints may make it difficult to bend your fingers or form a fist.
  • Swelling: Inflamed joints can appear swollen or puffy. This can make the joints feel tight and might make it difficult to move your joints or perform certain movements.
  • Redness and warmth: Arthritic joints are often inflamed, which causes redness and warmth. This is especially common during flare-ups, and the joints may be tender to the touch. 
  • Joint deformities: Over time, rheumatoid arthritis in particular can cause joint deformities in the hands. This can result in misaligned or crooked fingers.

Finding treatment for arthritis in your hands 

To treat arthritis in your hands, you need to discuss your symptoms with a rheumatologist, who can identify the type of arthritis you are suffering from and develop a treatment plan based on your specific symptoms. 

At Advanced Rheumatology of Houston, our arthritis experts can accurately diagnose your condition and develop a treatment plan to help manage your symptoms. Call us today at (281) 766-7886 or contact us here to schedule an appointment with a rheumatology expert.