Hand and wrist have a number of small joints which work in unity to produce movement. It would make a person very difficult to do the daily activities of life when one is affected by hand arthritis. Arthritis of the hand can occur in many areas of the hand as well as the wrist.
The joints are surrounded by a smooth substance called cartilage. It works as a natural shock absorber for the joints. When a person is affected with arthritis, the joints tend to lose cartilage, which helps in the smooth gliding movement of the joints. The cartilage is worn out or damaged and ultimately it is destroyed completely. When the cartilage is lost, the joint no longer has a painless movement.
To replace the lost cartilage, body produces a fluid in the lining of the joint known as synovium. Synovium acts as a cushion like a waterbed. The only defect of synovium is that it causes the joint to swell, which restricts the motion of the joint freely. This causes stretching of joint capsule which in turn causes pain. If arthritis is not cured, then the ultimate result would be loss of the normal shape of the bones. Pain and a check in movement of the joints can make the affected person find difficulty in doing day to day activities.
The Major Symptoms of Hand Arthritis are Given Below:
Joint pain is the early symptom of hand arthritis. Pain may cause dullness and burning sensation in the fingers. Pain increases as a result of excess use of the joints like gripping heavy objects for long hours. The person may not feel pain immediately but after some hours, or even the next day, pain and stiffness may occur.
In later stages when the cartilage wears off as there is nothing to give the perfect shock absorption, the symptoms of pain comes even when the person has not done any heavy jobs. During the later stages of the disease, joint pain will make you stay awake at night. This can affect your overall health. Activities which once were easy to do would now turn out to be impossible ones due to the extreme pain in the joints.
Swelling and Warmth
When the joint which is affected with arthritis undergoes stress, it may cause swelling. Swelling of the area will prevent further movement of the joint.
Swelling and pain can cause great uneasiness in the person affected. The affected joint may experience swelling and it may be warm to feel. This warmth is due to the body’s response to inflammation.
Mobility in the Nearby Joints
Patients with thumb based arthritis will experience mobility in the rest of the fingers than the affected one.
Crepitation and Looseness
A sensation of grinding or grating will be experienced in the joints which are affected. This is called Crepitation. It is caused as a result of the damaged cartilage rubbing against each other. The support of the joints may feel loose or unstable due to the damage caused in the ligaments. The affected joint may look larger than its normal size. This is because of the changes in bone’s structure, joint swelling and loss of cartilage.
Arthritis when affects the end joints (fingers) or the dip joints, cysts tend to develop. Ridging or dents in the plate of the affected fingers is caused due to these cysts (mucous cysts).